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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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Theater's 'End Days' peeks at rapture


by: PHOTO BY TRAVIS NODURFT - The cast of 'End Days' features, from left, Michael Lissman, Doren Elias, Cynthia Smith-English and Emily Robison.What can you say about a play that is about the end of the world?

“I’ve had the hardest time explaining this play to people — they are all afraid,” said director Annie Rimmer, of “End Days,” Clackamas Repertory Theatre’s final play of the season.

But, Rimmer insisted, the play — which opens Friday, Sept. 21 — is “really, really funny. I don’t know how to say it enough — it is hilarious.”

The plot revolves around the Steins, a Jewish family newly relocated to the suburbs of New York City, several years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“It is about how we cope; how we need each other,” Rimmer said.

Author Deborah Zoe Laufer wrote the play as a commentary about how people keep trying to choose between science and religion in order to find comfort or answers, Rimmer said.

Religious family

This dilemma is personified by the quirky characters who inhabit “End Days.”

First up is Sylvia, played by CRT’s managing director, Cynthia Smith-English; Sylvia was raised in the Jewish faith, but has become a born-again Christian who is convinced the world is going to end in a few days.

“She was pretty desperately seeking solace after 9/11, so she became part of an evangelical Christian religion, and she now has a personal relationship with Jesus,” Smith-English said. “She is terrified by all the violence in the world, and she wants to be saved and raptured, but she doesn’t want to go without her family; she wants them to be raptured with her.”

Sylvia tries to get her husband, Arthur, and daughter, Rachel, to repent, and her actions are met with great resistance.

Arthur worked in the World Trade Center and was able to get safely out of the building on 9/11, but his 65 employees were killed.

“Therein lies his guilt and sleepless nights. It has been several years, but he has continued to go into his shell; everything seem exhausting,” noted Doren Elias, who plays the role.

Arthur’s coping mechanism is withdrawal; he can’t go shopping and he can’t go outside.

He is sticking to his Jewish roots, and finds his wife’s passion for being a born-again Christian “way out in left field.”

Meanwhile, Arthur and Sylvia’s teenage daughter, Rachel, begins to dress as a goth, and that is her coping mechanism, said Emily Robison.

Goths observe and consider; they are accepting of the things around them and are very logical, Robison said.

Rachel turns to science, and develops a relationship with Stephen Hawking, a character only she can see, just as her mother turns to Jesus, a character only she can see.

“People need religion as something to turn to when they are lost; people need science when they need answers,” Robison added.

Elvis, Jesus and Stephen Hawking

Leaping into the lives of this family comes the 16-year-old boy next door, who loves Elvis so much that he dresses like Elvis — white jumpsuit Elvis.

“He wears the iconic jumpsuit and almost feels uncomfortable when he’s not wearing it,” said Michael Lissman, who plays Nelson Steinberg.

Both of his parents have passed away, and he finds himself living with two stepparents; he looks at the Stein family as a substitute family, and fancies himself in love with Rachel.

Nelson’s mother was a big Elvis fan, and bought her son the jumpsuit when he was young; once his mother passed away, he simply continued to buy the suit, in bigger sizes, as he grew up.

“That is his coping mechanism,” Lissman said.

“He’s kind of an outcast, and it seems like he should be a sad character, but he is super upbeat. That is what ignites the change in this family, and they come to appreciate each other more,” he said.

Lissman added that “the play deals with religious themes, and I almost become the guardian angel for this family; it shows that a savior can be in any form, even a goofy kid.”

And now for something completely different — or someone completely different: Jayson Shanafelt, who plays both Jesus and Hawking.

“I come from a Christian background, so I am trying to portray a Jesus that people who genuinely love him will say, ‘Yes, that is Jesus.’ I’m playing him not just from a secular view and not a purely humorous version,” Shanafelt said.

As for playing Hawking, he said, “You are dealing with thousands of hours of video on YouTube, and he speaks in a very distinct voice that is not human. He was easier to research and harder to portray.”

Shanafelt added, “This play is about how people handle not just tragedy, but the story of their own lives. Some shut down, some turn to religion and some turn to tangible science. It is a signal to the audience that there is something deeper going on here, that the same actor portrays both Jesus and Stephen Hawking.”

Wheelchair a challenge

Shelly Mortimer has met and overcome many challenges during the course of providing props for 28 shows, both for Clackamas Repertory Theatre and Clackamas Community College, but finding a high-tech wheelchair for the actor playing Stephen Hawking was a bit of a headache.

“I knew it was going to be hard to find and expensive. It had to have a customized screen and an oxygen tank,” she said.

She told her story to Mark Henley, owner of Shamrock Medical Inc. on Foster Road in Portland, and he “went crazy, and said, ‘I’ll build that for you,’ ” Mortimer said.

The timing was just right, as Henley had a basic electric wheelchair on the showroom floor, and he agreed to customize it and allow CRT to use it free of charge for the run of the show.

The chair is a basic tilt-in-space para-wheelchair, Henley said, noting that its particular style is like a reclining chair.

“It is set up for somebody who needs to offset the pressure on bones or body; for someone who needs to sit in the chair for a long period of time,” he said.

Jayson Shanafelt plays the role of Hawking, and Henley adjusted the chair to conform to the actor’s body and retro-fitted a monitor onto the chair.

“It is actually an electronic chessboard, but the audience won’t know the difference,” he said.

He decided to donate the chair and his time to CRT, he said, because he likes to give back to the community, and because, “sometimes you just do the right thing.”by: PHOTO BY DICK TRTEK - Jayson Shanafelt, pictured above as Stephen Hawking, said he felt 'euphoric' the first time he sat in the customized wheelchair.