Featured Stories

INSIDERS (Sponsored Content)

Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -

BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraSummer's imminent arrival means your vehicle's air conditioning system will soon be under serious strain.

If your A/C isn't as frosty as it used to be, but it's still blowing cold, the system may need to be recharged.

Manufacturers used to use a type of refrigerant known as R-12, or Freon, until researchers found it caused ozone depletion. As such, it's illegal to use Freon in vehicles built after 1994. Now, manufacturers use R-134a to keep things cold in the cabin.

Working on an air conditioning system is about as much fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

Unless you are skilled in vehicle maintenance, it’s safest to take the job to a professional.

An AC compressor is usually driven by your vehicle's serpentine belt, and as it spins, it pressurizes the system's refrigerant. It's this change in pressure that cools the air coming into your cabin. The best way to keep your compressor from failing is to have your A/C system serviced once a year.

If your compressor needs replacement, most responsible shops will recommend swapping out a number of periphery components at the same time.

Why? The easy answer is working on an air conditioning system is about as fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

To avoid draining your refrigerant, removing your compressor, installing a new unit and refilling the system with new cool stuff — only to have you come back in a week and say it's still not cold enough — it makes sense to replace the necessary components.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



Brought to you by Mike Nielsen of Snap Fitness - FITNESS INSIDER -

SNAP FITNESS - Mike NielsenAs the inspirational saying goes, “Live less out of habit and more out of intent.”

While it’s true that starting a fitness routine can be difficult, I offer the following tips to get you in the gym door and on the road to good health.

Assessment — New SNAP Fitness clients receive a free jump-start session, including consultation with a trainer. The assessment determines the client’s baseline, helps us guide their first steps, and is an opportunity to discuss adding personal training.

Cardio — The national recommendation for exercise for all ages and fitness levels is to get to the gym at least three days per week, and to do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio per visit. Working out with a friend will make it more fun, help you feel more accountable, help you stay at the gym for more months and achieve a higher level of success.

Strength training is key to replacing fat with muscle, becoming leaner, stronger and improving balance. Do two to three sessions of strength training per week.

Nutritional guidelines — Instead of eating three large meals per day, eat five to six small meals. This will fuel your energy throughout the day and avoid post-meal sluggishness. Also drink 96 ounces of water daily.

Online help — SNAP has a complete online nutritional program and training center. Free with membership, it provides a personalized workout plan, sample menus and a complete library of instruction videos.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.



Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170



Brought to you by Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER

Mike Nielsen, Snap FitnessStrength training is an essential part of an exercise program, even for someone who hasn’t been active in a while.

Lifting weights, using weight machines and doing core work increases muscle mass and bone density.

As we age, our muscles deteriorate (called sarcopenia) and bone density decreases.

Research shows that seniors are more susceptible to bone breakage that younger adults. As people age, their metabolism slows down. We are seeing more and more seniors joining gyms.

If we take the average adult between the ages of 40 and 50 and do basic strength-training three to four times per week for 90 days, the outcome can be life-changing.

Here’s a myth-buster: Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat! A pound is a pound. 

Muscle is, however, more dense than body fat and takes up less area than fat. If you were to start an exercise program complete with strength training, you would increase your lean body mass and decrease body fat.

The body takes up less space and metabolism speeds up, resulting in a higher BMR (base metabolic rate, the amount of daily caloric intake needed to maintain LBM and weight.) This reverses sarcopenia and increases bone density.   

Not everyone walks into a gym and knows exactly what to do. Snap gives new members an opportunity to meet with a Certified Personal Trainer, who assesses their body and their goals. 

Let’s get started.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.



Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170



Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTO MAINTENANCE INSIDER

John Sciarra, Bernard's GarageRegular maintenance on your car is, quite simply, a good investment.

For example, when you bring your car in for a timing belt — typically needed at 90,000 to 100,000 miles— it costs in the range of $400 to $500. But if it breaks, it might be $1,800 to $2,000.

At our shop, when we do it, we do it right. With the timing belt, we also replace the timing belt tensioner, idler pulleys, camshaft seals, water pump and coolant.

Mileage interval maintenance, which is only done by shops, should be done at 30,000, 60,000 and 90,000 miles.

The ideal scenario is to get the car into the shop about three times per year for inspections, which will find things like rodent damage, which is more common than you might think. It’s mainly squirrels in this area.

An inspection will also uncover leaking coolant or oil, as well as plugged-up air filters. Once a year, you should get a brake inspection.

We do complete automotive repair, including pre-purchase inspections for $150. That’s a comprehensive inspection, which can detect unforeseen problems and save you from buying a compromised vehicle.

Our average cost for an oil change is $38; $58 for a brake inspection.

It’s a small investment. We do it properly and can save you a lot of trouble and expense down the road.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER

SNAP FITNESS - Mike Nielsen“We are a friendly, success-oriented fitness center,” says Mike Nielsen, vice president and co-owner of Snap Fitness locations in Oregon City, Milwaukie and Canby. “We’re like the ‘Cheers’ of the gym world, where everybody knows your name.”

Nielsen has been a certified fitness coach for 13 years and has been with Snap for eight years. He says being a fitness coach is all about helping individuals achieve the best version of themselves.

“It’s not just something that’s done at the gym, but it’s a lifestyle change,” he said of Snap. “We focus on not only the physical but also the mental and emotional aspects of everyday life, to make sure we are able to achieve long-term success.”

He says Snap gyms have a family feel and a personal touch.

The gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with monitored access for safety. Snap has more than 1,500 locations nationwide.

The fitness centers offer cardio, personal training, weight-loss programs, a health center, strength training and Olympic lifting. An online web page for members offers nutrition counseling and an online training center.

“Our members are our greatest assets,” Nielsen added. “We do all we can to make sure they have not only the best facility and equipment, but a wonderful experience.”

Snap Fitness


Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.


Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170


Canby: 1109 SW 1st Ave.


Brought to you by John Sciarra - Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -

BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraAfter nearly 100 years of providing excellent full-service automotive repair and maintenance, Bernard’s Garage is a classic Milwaukie institution trusted by generations of customers.

Founded in 1925, old timers and area residents still remember Joe Bernard Sr., who would design and build custom car parts when his customers’ vehicles needed it. Joe Bernard Jr., a former Milwaukie mayor, helped modernize Bernard’s and continued his father’s tradition of excellent customer service.

The current owner, Jim Bernard, another Milwaukie mayor and current Clackamas County commissioner, has computerized Bernard’s—turning his father’s mechanics into today’s technicians.

Besides providing free pickup and delivery, Bernard’s offers DEQ repair and adjustments, check-engine light diagnosis, manufacturer-scheduled maintenance, brakes, steering and suspension repair, timing belt tune-ups, radiator and water pump work, as well as engine, transmission and air conditioning service.

“We are straight shooters and will let you know what the problem is and what the cost is upfront,” Operations Manager John Sciarra says.

Sciarra, an 18 year veteran of Bernard’s, has attained numerous specialty vehicle class certifications. With 26 years in the industry overall, Sciarra is our INSIDER for automotive excellence.

Bernard’s Garage is a 17-year-long supporter of the Milwaukie Farmers Market, a Milwaukie First Friday participant and frequently donates to the Annie Ross House, Milwaukie Senior Center and other local schools and events.

A member of the Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce since 1955, Bernard’s has been named Business of the Year twice since 2000, and has received the BRAG award from the county for practicing responsible recycling and waste management.

Bernard's Garage 

2036 SE Washington St, Milwaukie, OR.

(503) 659-7722


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Area coed hoopsters tough as nails


OC, Clackamas, Milwaukie and La Salle are all ranked in the top five in the state in girls basketball

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Oregon City senior post Johanna Paine takes the ball to the basket in the Pioneers Nike Interstate Shootout win over Southridge. The Pioneers suffered their first loss of the season in the tournament, but they are still ranked No. 1 in the state in the OSAA Class 6A power rankings.Area high school girls basketball teams have had more than their share of success in preseason, and their early success has earned them rankings near the top in the OSAA power rankings.

Entering the new year, Oregon City and Clackamas were ranked first and fifth respectively in the Class 6A power rankings; Milwaukie was ranked No. 5 in Class 5A; and La Salle was ranked No. 4 in Class 4A.

Oregon City and Clackamas proved themselves among the cream of the crop in the prestigious Nike Interstate Shootout, hosted by Lake Oswego Dec. 27-30. The two teams met in the third-place final of the tournament, with Oregon City winning in a 61-36 runaway over their Three Rivers League rivals.

“They are disciplined and they are a veteran team with lots of experience playing together,” Clackamas coach Todd Lane said of Oregon City. “Playing them on the fourth day of a four-day tournament with no time to prepare is very tough, especially when you’ve got a young team. We’re a team that needs a couple of days to prepare to play Oregon City....

“I think it was good for my young kids to get to play Oregon City in a tournament environment and see how hard they play. Hopefully, in two weeks, when we meet them on Jan. 18, we’ll be better prepared and we’ll give them a better game.”

The Pioneers (10-1) went 3-1 in the tournament, defeating Southridge 54-33 and eleventh-ranked South Salem 64-44, before losing to Central Catholic 59-48 in the semifinals. Central Catholic (9-3), which was ranked No. 1 in last week’s coaches poll, was ranked third — behind Oregon City and South Medford (7-2) — in the OSAA power rankings entering the new year. The coaches ranked Clackamas fifth.

“That’s one of the reasons why we play such a tough schedule outside of league,” Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf said. “When you play really good opponents who are winning a lot of games, it helps your ranking.”

Central Catholic put Oregon City away in the fourth quarter of the Shootout semifinal, outscoring the Pioneers 20-10 in the stanza.

“The [Central Catholic game] came down to who made the last run,” Guelsdorf said. “They got up on us in the fourth quarter and we had to foul....

“I think we are every bit as good as, or better than, Central Catholic. On that particular day, they were a little better.”

Senior post Johanna Paine was the most consistent scorer for the Pioneers through the tournament, averaging 20.2 points and scoring a high of 24 points in the opener with Southridge.

Clackamas (10-3) opened the Interstate Shootout with wins over eighth-ranked St. Mary’s (57-45) and then seventh-ranked Beaverton (64-42), before meeting its match in nationally-ranked Norcross, GA (82-45) and Oregon City.

“The girls played hard,” Lane said of their play in the game with Norcross. “It’s just that [Norcross] is at a different level than we are.... They had size and greater overall speed.”

He said a lack of aggressiveness on the backboards hurt his charges in the Oregon City game.

“They really hammered the boards on us,” he said. “They had 20 offensive rebounds, which is more than we had defensive rebounds.”

Led by Johanna Paine (14 rebounds), Catelyn Preston (9 rebounds) and Jaime Goff (8 rebounds), the Pioneers out-rebounded the Cavaliers 50-24.

by: MILES VANCE - Clackamas junior wing Sydney Azorr (15) eyes the basket in the Cavaliers Nike Interstate Shootout win over seventh-ranked Beaverton.Senior wing Deeshyra Thomas and junior wing Sydney Azorr were Clackamas’ most consistent players for the tournament, averaging 14.5 and 10.5 points respectively. Thomas scored a game-high 19 points, hitting three treys, in the Beaverton game, as the Cavaliers outscored the Beavers 35-15 in the second half to break the game open. Azorr scored a game-high 18 points against St. Mary’s, as the Cavaliers earned a 33-21 advantage after the intermission of that game.

Led by Johanna Paine (16 points ppg, 61 percent shooting), Oregon City (10-1) outscored opponents by an average score of 65-44 in its first 11 games.

Point guard Montana Walters averaged eight points and eight assists.

The Pioneers forced an averaged of 22 turnovers a game.

Oregon City and Clackamas begin TRL play this Friday. The Pioneers host Lakeridge (6-7), while the Cavaliers entertain West Linn (6-7).

Mustangs have a

target on their backs

The Milwaukie Mustangs entered this Tuesday’s (Jan. 8) Northwest Oregon Conference girls basketball opener with Wilsonville with a target on their backs.

The Class 5A Mustangs went 7-2 in preseason, despite a schedule that included games with eight teams from Class 6A schools.

“It looks like we’ll be the [NWOC] team everyone’s gunning for,” Milwaukie coach Kevin McElroy said. “We’re the only team in the league that had much success winning games in preseason. The only team besides ourselves that had a winning record was St. Helens. They went 6-4, but they played a weaker schedule. We’re the only team from the league ranked in the top 20 in the OSAA rankings.”

The Mustangs were impressive in a Dec. 27-28 tournament at Gresham, upending Class 6A Forest Grove 58-44 in the tournament championship game, after defeating Class 6A Reynolds 54-31 in the tournament’s first round. Through play last weekend, Forest Grove (9-2) was ranked ninth in the state in the 6A power rankings.

Milwaukie in preseason also defeated St. Mary’s (51-47), which was ranked eighth in 6A. The Mustangs’ only losses in preseason were to Oregon City (65-51) and to Jesuit (49-43 in overtime).

“We’re playing some pretty good basketball right now,” McElroy said. “We’re sharing the ball and things are clicking a lot earlier than they have in the past. Our challenge will be to come out with intensity no matter who the opponent is....

“I know the girls are motivated. Their goal is they don’t want to share the title this year.”

Veterans Alexis Noren (15.7 ppg, 5 assists per game), Lorissa Martine (11.2 ppg), Emily Downs (8.1 ppg) and April Meads (7.7 ppg) have led a balanced offensive attack in preseason. Noren has also averaged a team-high 5.8 rebounds and 5.2 steals. Martine is a hot-handed 20-of-46 (.434) on 3-pointers.

Noren (20 points), Martine (16 points) and Meads (12 points) all hit double figures in scoring in the upset of Forest Grove. The Mustangs were in charge from the opening tip-off, outscoring the Vikings 26-9 in the first quarter. Noren tallied 12 points in the stanza.

“[Forest Grove] tried to press us and we beat their press,” McElroy said. “And they didn’t handle our press very well.”

Milwaukie plays cross-town rival Putnam (2-7) on the road this Friday.

The Kingsmen played in the Woodburn/Silverton Invitational over the Christmas break, yielding to the Silver Foxes 54-32, and to the Bulldogs 54-37. Junior Kelsea Baton led a balanced attack for the Kingsmen in both games, scoring 12 points against Silverton and 9 points in the Woodburn game.

After a slow start, the Kingsmen lost to Wilson 44-35 last Saturday. They out-scored the Trojans 19-13 in the second half, when they upped their intensity on defense.

La Salle girls

are on fire

The La Salle Prep Falcons have proven themselves without question one of the top Class 4A girls basketball teams in the state.

The Falcons proved themselves worthy of their high ranking last Saturday when they gave seventh-ranked Banks a run for its money in a 48-46 loss. La Salle (9-2) was riding an eight-game win string heading into that game. The Falcons are averaging 66 points a game, to 39 points by their opponents.

The Falcons have been especially impressive in recent games. In other games played last week, they handled Scappoose (64-25) and Tillamook (90-19).

And they won a recent holiday tournament at eighth-ranked Sisters in convincing fashion, upending third-ranked La Grande 67-29 in the tournament championship game, after advancing through routs of Burns (60-31) and Class 5A Redmond (56-31).

Sterling Swift tallied 24 points in the shellacking of La Grande. The 5-8 junior guard was 9-of-16 from the field, with three 3-pointers.

The Falcons forced the La Grande Tigers into submission, with no fewer than 26 steals. Senior Natalie Schlechter headed the defensive assault, with five thefts.

The Falcons have rallied around their defense and the full-court press all season, averaging better than 20 steals an outing.

Through play Jan. 2, Swift was averaging 21.3 points. The next highest scorer was junior Andrea Novak, averaging 7.3 points.

Novak was also averaging a team-leading 6.9 rebounds; junior Allison Ilg was averaging a team-high four steals.

The Falcons get their final tuneup for the Tri-Valley Conference this Friday, when they play Astoria on the road.

La Salle begins conference play next Tuesday, hosting cross-town rival Gladstone.

Sporting a youthful lineup, the Gladiators (4-5) have had an up-and-down preseason. They got outscored by 17 points in the third quarter of a Dec. 29 game with tenth-ranked Elmira, but only lost by 10 points.