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

Its like herding cats


But the Oaks Park Oakettes are cats with talent

Thanks to the growing popularity of artistic roller skating in the Portland area, the Oaks Park Skating Club has a junior precision team, the Oakettes, entered in the 2013 USA Roller Sports National Artistic Roller Skating Championships, which got underway this week in Albuquerque, New Mexico.by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Oaks Park Oakettes junior precision skaters take a break from a recent practice to pose for a team picture. Team members include: (front, from left) Caitlin Richardson and Adelaide Holenstein; (standing, from left) Sarah Wellock, Elsie Stevens, Bailey Goleman, Madison More, Megan Brooks, Evelyn Wellock, Ellianna Foster, Camdyn Chinn, Makayla Simonelic and Kaicy Wilde; and (not pictured) Miyu Endo and Greta McCabe.

It’s a first for both the Northwest Region and the Oaks Park Skating Club, which before this year had never had a junior precision team compete at the regional level, let alone nationals.

“We have a lot of kids now coming up through classes,” said Oaks artistic coach Tiffany McKinnon. “For once we have the kids to do it, and they are all enthusiastic about skating.”

The idea for fielding a junior precision team emerged during last summer’s national championships in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“Joan [Oaks coach Joan Dreyer], Tiffany and I were watching junior precision [at the nationals] and we looked at each other and said, ‘We can do that,’” recalls Oaks artistic coach Cindy White.

“We were surprised with the interest,” said McKinnon. “We thought we could get eight girls. We got 14, and they all committed to going to nationals.”

White, who lives in Oregon City, and McKinnon, who lives in Clackamas, have been coaching the team, along with McKinnon’s daughter Courtney Richardson, since last November.

With the rink available for only two practices a month and the diverse ages and personalities of the girls on the team, at times it’s been like one step forward and two steps back. But with the limitless patience of the coaches and leadership from the older girls on the team, the team has come together and learned to skate in unison. And they are likely to represent the local area well at nationals.

“When you have 14 girls, ages 6-14, sometimes it is like herding cats,” admitted McKinnon.

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Oakettes skate a 4-spoke pinwheel as they gear up for the USA Roller Sports National Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Only five of the girls on the team are over nine years of age.

“Practices can get a little hectic and chaotic,” said Richardson. “It’s a lot of work dealing with 14 little girls.... But they’ve come a long way. I think they’re skating well.”

“On day one, some of them could hardly skate forward, let alone turn around and skate backwards,” White observed. “Now they can all turn, and skate backwards, no problem.”

Courtney Richardson’s 13-year-old sister Caitlin and Happy Valley 14-year-old Adelaide Holenstein are two of the older girls on the team. They have greater skating skills and skating knowledge than most of their teammates and they help the coaches keep the younger girls headed in the right direction.

“A lot of time it’s frustrating for them and it’s frustrating for us, because we’re doing stuff they can’t do yet....,” said Caitlin.

Asked what’s been the most challenging in practicing and perfecting their routines, Caitlin said, “The toughest thing is dealing with those little girls screaming. Sometimes they have little-girl fights and they come to you, expecting you to referee and take their side....

“I want to coach someday, but only one-on-one. When you work one-on-one, they calm down.”

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Oakettes join hands and form a circle during a Sunday evening practice at Oaks Park. The Oaks Skating Club is the first club in the Northwest Region to send a junior precision team to compete at the national championships.“I’m surprised at how quickly we learned,” Adelaide said.

Adelaide added, “This has helped me with my skating, being more comfortable with people on the floor next to you. One misstep, someone hits your skate, and you go down.”

Recalling her first national, at age 6, Caitlin said she is a little concerned with a possible “deer-in-the-headlights” reaction by some of the younger girls on the team.

“For 11 of the 14 girls, it’s their first national,” Caitlin said. “I remember my first national. When I saw myself in the Minnie Mouse costume on the big screen the first time, I just froze. I was going around and looked up at the big screen and just stopped. I looked at myself for some time and after awhile I remembered I was doing my routine and decided I better finish.”

After giving the question some additional thought, Caitlin said, “I think they’ll be okay. Most of the girls will be doing other routines [at nationals] before we do precision, so they’ll be over the big screen.”

“Eight of the 11 girls new to nationals also qualified in dance or figures,” McKinnon observed.

Caitlin Richardson will be busy at nationals, skating 10 other events besides junior precision; Adelaide will skate four other events besides precision.

The coaches have no illusion about bringing home a medal from nationals in junior precision this year.

Asked if the team had a chance of placing in the top three this year, they said in unison, “No.”

McKinnon noted, “In junior precision you can have team members as old as 15 and some of the teams there will have every member age 15, or close to 15....

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - (From left) Oakettes junior precision team skaters Kaicy Wilde and Bailey Goleman visit with coaches Tiffany McKinnon, Cindy White and Courtney Richardson during a break at a recent practice session.“Most of our girls are pretty green. Right now we’re just trying to get them all going in one direction.”

White was quick to add, “These girls are competitors. When they see what there is at nationals, it’s going to make them want to come back and work harder. Try some harder stuff, and get better. They’ll all be eligible to compete again next year. We’ll get more practice time, they’ll work harder, and we’ll get better.”

Looking ahead to this year’s nationals, Oaks precision skater Elsie Stevens, who gives her age as “seven-and-three-quarters,” said, “It’s going to be scary, because it’s like the biggest competition there is. But I think we’ll do pretty good.”

Elsie, who lives in Portland, also skates roller derby on a Rose City Rollers Rose Pedals team for 7- to 11-year-olds, the Daughters Of Doom.

“Precision is a lot harder than roller derby,” Elsie said. “You have to memorize a lot of stuff.”

“Most of the girls are relatively new to skating and they don’t realize how much skating they’ve learned while participating,” said Dot Leppin, who has been involved in coaching, judging or administration of competitive skating at Oaks Park for over four decades. “The entire club is very proud of these kids.”

Members of the Oakettes junior precision team include: Caitlin Richardson, Adelaide Holenstein, Elsie Stevens; Megan Brooks from Tualatin; Makayla Simonelic from Tigard; Kaicy Wilde from Gresham; Bailey Goleman and Madison More from Vancouver; and Portland skaters Miyu Endo, Greta McCabe, Camdyn Chinn, Ellianna Foster, Evelyn Wellock and Sarah Wellock.

Makayla, 6, is the great, great granddaughter of Oaks skating coach Joan Dreyer.