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

Falcon with the eye of an eagle


Sterling Swift is lighting them up at La Salle

by: JAIME VALDEZ - La Salle Prep 5-8 junior guard Sterling Swift (2) puts the ball up over the guard of Madras senior post Inez Jones (22) in last weeks game with the White Buffaloes. Despite efforts by opponents to slow her down, Swift averaged 20 points a game through the Falcons first 17 games.La Salle Prep junior Sterling Swift is a big reason why the Falcons’ have been successful in girls basketball this season.

Heading into play this week, the Falcons were ranked fourth in the OSAA power rankings. They sported an overall record of 14-3 and a record of 4-0 in the Tri-Valley Conference, with wins over their toughest conference opponents — Gladstone (44-39) and Madras (40-32). They’ve been averaging 60 points a game, to just 37 points by their opponents.

And the Falcons have not had an easy schedule. They’ve played five teams ranked in the top 10 in Class 4A. They crushed third-ranked La Grande 67-29 when the two teams met in a Dec. 29 game at La Salle, and they dropped sixth-ranked Cascade 73-55 in a mid-December game with the Cougars.

Swift, a 5-8 shooting guard who has started on varsity in all but two games since she first came to La Salle as a freshman, has been sizzling hot this season, averaging 20 points and 51 percent shooting as the Falcons’ leading scorer. And she’s been accurate from long range, as well as on drives to the basket, hitting 32-of-83 (.386) 3-point attempts. She’s also been hot at the charity stripe, cashing in on 65-of-74 (.878) attempts.

She scored a career high 33 points in a 73-67 mid-December win over Central.

She’s the only player on this year’s team averaging scoring in double figures.

The phenomenal shooting is no accident. A resident of Happy Valley, Swift has played basketball the year around since she was in fourth grade, and she played on Clackamas’ Classic teams through eighth grade.

Through practice and dedication, she’s improved her accuracy dramatically over her freshman and sophomores seasons, when she averaged 7.5 ppg and 13.3 ppg respectively.

“I really worked on my 3-point shot last summer,” Swift says. “I didn’t take a day off from the first of June to the last day of July, and I did one-on-one training in our backyard court with my dad [Dan Swift] and brother [Austin Swift] all through August....

“Our coach [La Salle coach Kelli Wedin] had a 10,000 shot club and I got a T-shirt for taking 10,000 shots [during the month of August].”

Last July, Swift traveled to Chicago, Tennessee and San Diego, competing in tournament’s with Gary Lavender’s Oregon Elite high school AAU team.

“If she continues shooting the way she has been shooting, there could be some Division I [college] team somewhere out there looking for a shooter, and she could play Division I,” said Lavender, who coached at Lake Oswego High School for nearly three decades before taking up coaching AAU teams in 2007. “She’s definitely a Division II player.”

“Sterling is a very coachable kid, who has a tremendous work ethic and is a great teammate,” Wedin said. “She makes the most of every opportunity she has on the court, in practices and games.

“She does not take these opportunities lightly or for granted. She is our most consistent scorer and really just plays within herself. She does a great job getting herself open in transition as well as within our offensive sets. Her teammates have a great sense of where she is on the court and they all have great chemistry and a willingness to share the basketball.

“Although Sterling is our leading scorer, she would much rather win a game with her teammates then be the top scorer. She plays the game simply and takes what she is given and makes the most of it....

“I know that Sterling has aspirations to play at the next level, and there is no doubt that she has the potential to do so. She is a very hard working kid and I think any coach would be lucky to have her!”

Swift, who plans to study business or law in college, excels in the classroom as well as on the hardcourt.

“I’ve had straight A’s all the way through high school, she says. “I take advance placement classes, so I have over a 4-point [grade point average].”

Swift says her “dream college” would be situated in Southern California.

“I love the sun, my mom grew up down there, and we’ve always gone on vacation down there as kids,” Swift said. “But if it means playing basketball, I’ll go almost anywhere. I want to go where I can keep playing basketball.”

As far as her personal goal in athletics in high school, Swift says, “I’d like to be all-state-something, if not this year, then next year.”

And her goals for her high school team?

“Gill [Coliseum] and two state championships,” she says. “We’re going to do whatever we need to do to get there.”

Swift has been close to a state championship. Her freshman year she started on a La Salle team that lost to Cascade in the Class 4A championship final.

“It was nice [beating Cascade this year], because they beat us by two in the final my freshman year,” Swift said. “We were able to shut them down in the half court, and we were hitting our shots.”

Swift scored 28 points in the 73-55 win, hitting 9-of-13 field goals, including four 3-pointers; and going a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. The 73 points is the most points the Cougars have given up in 17 games this season.

Swift says of the early-season rout of La Grande, “We played really good defense. They couldn’t get it past half court and we were able to take it to the rack on them.”

She scored 24 points, hitting 9-of-16 shots, including three treys, in that game. She also had four steals, as the Falcons forced more than 30 turnovers.

The Falcons’ only losses this season came in a Dec. 3 game with Valley Catholic (53-46), a Jan. 5 game at fifth-ranked Banks (48-46) and in a Jan. 8 game at ninth-ranked Seaside (58-50). Valley Catholic is undefeated in 21 games this season and the Valiants are the top-ranked team in Class 3A.

“We played Banks and Seaside back-to-back and they both played a 1-1-3 zone that we hadn’t seen before,” Swift said. “We’ve been working on [playing against a 1-1-3 zone] almost every day now, because teams believe they can stop us with it.”

Swift says she believes this year’s team can become as good as the Falcon team that made the state final her freshman year.

“We’re smaller than that team,” she said. “We don’t have the two 6-foot players anymore. But I think we make up for it with heart. [Coach Wedin] stresses defense, and we’re really pushing the tempo....

“We’re playing a lot better defense than last year. If we keep working hard, I think we can get back to where we were [in 2011]. We’re getting there.”