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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


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Dont count the Falcons out


La Salle reloads, and the Falcons plan on defending their league crown

by: JON HOUSE - La Salles Keeston Smith dishes off to a teammate during last years state playoff game with Scappoose. Smith is the only experienced player returning from last years league championship team, but the Falcons still believe they have the horses to defend their Tri-Valley Conference title.The La Salle Prep Falcons return only one experienced player from last year’s team that won the Tri-Valley Conference boys basketball championship and placed third at state.

But that doesn’t mean the Falcons won’t be a contender in TVC and Class 4A basketball again this year.

The Falcons have reloaded their varsity with players accustomed to winning. La Salle’s jayvee team went 22-1 last season, its only loss in overtime to Tillamook; and La Salle freshmen a year ago were a perfect 22-0, with two of their wins over freshmen teams from Class 6A Jesuit.

“Ninety percent of our practices are varsity and jayvee practicing together, which leads to a shorter learning curve in the transition to varsity,” said La Salle coach Jared Curtiss. “We hit the ground running. We tell our jayvee kids the toughest opponent they face all year will be their own teammates in practices.”

“We’re in the same spot we were last year at this point in the season,” said Curtiss. “We’re 4-1, only we’ve traded last year’s preseason loss to [2013 Class 4A finalist] Cascade with a loss to Valley Catholic.”

Valley Catholic, which placed fifth at last year’s Class 3A state tournament, defeated La Salle 42-35 on Dec. 12.

“We had a lead late, but they rallied and got us,” said Curtiss. “They’re probably going to be a top two team [in Class 3A] this year.”

In other early preseason games, the Falcons earned wins over Stayton (84-48), Banks (70-34), Tillamook (63-42) and Cascade (71-64).

“We pass the ball extremely well,” said Curtiss. “We’re a zone-breaking team that shoots the ball really well. We may not be as athletic as last year, but we shoot the ball much better....

“We share the ball and play well together. And we’ve got size. We could start five guys who are 6-5 or taller.... It’s nice to be big and have good shooters as well.”

And the Falcons have good depth.

“We have ten guys that would start at a lot of places and we have five guys that could play post,” Curtiss said.

Starters for the Falcons in their first five games were: seniors Luke Kolln (6-0 point guard) and Thomas Callahan (6-5 post), and juniors Valois Gashongore (6-0 guard), Reece Wible (6-6 wing) and Keeston Smith (6-7 post/wing). Smith is a returning starter.

“Keeston is our best all-around player,” Curtiss said.”He controls the glass and he can also shoot the three....”

“We don’t have [graduates] Sean [Hays] or Jacob [McGraw] to throw the ball in to,” said Smith. “But we have some guards who are great shooters. And our posts can hit the three as well.”

Smith averaged 11 points and 8.8 rebounds in the Falcons’ first five games. Wible averaged 12.4 points on 50 percent shooting, with seven 3-pointers; Kolln averaged 4.2 assists.

Matthew Berger, a 6-5 freshman, was scheduled to start in place of Gashongore in last Friday’s game with Scappoose, while Gashongore was away visiting family in Dubai.

“He may become one of the best players we’ve ever had,” Curtiss said of Berger. “He has high basketball IQ and he does everything really well. He can shoot, rebound; he passes really well; he can defend; and he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.”

Rounding out the Falcon roster are: seniors Grant Cameron (6-0 wing), Christopher Dowhaniuk (5-10 wing) and Ryan Cavanagh (6-2 post/wing); juniors Michael Duarte (5-9 wing), Michael Edwards (5-6 guard), Matthew D’Amore (5-8 wing) and Brandon Falk (6-5 post); and sophomore Andrew Lam (5-6 guard).

Although he’s got talent, Curtiss says that the TVC won’t be a cakewalk for anyone.

“I think we have three really good teams in the Tri-Valley League, and all three could get to Gill,” Curtiss said. “I’ve seen most of the top-10-ranked teams and Gladstone gets my vote for No. 1 in the state. They were good last year. They’ve got almost everybody back and they’re better this year....”

Curtiss says he expects Madras to also field a strong team and he says that North Marion is a possible darkhorse.

But Curtiss cautions opponents who think his Falcons, with a roster decimated by graduation, could be pushovers: “When we communicate and play tough defense, take care of the basketball and stay in front of guys going to the basket, we’re a tough match-up for anybody....”

“I feel we have the capability to bring another league title back to La Salle, and make a good run at state,” said Smith. “Even though we don’t have a lot coming back, we’re a lot deeper than other teams in our league.... I feel we can play eight or nine guys every night.”

The Falcons are on the road until Tuesday, Jan. 21, when they open league play as hosts to Gladstone.