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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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'Homecoming' shines with family's joy

by: MARK SCHWAHN - Chayne Husband, as Clay-Boy, and Grace Ashford, as Olivia, share a quiet moment in 'The Homecoming.'
Don’t try to resist the warmth coming from the stage during performances of Oregon City High School’s play, “The Homecoming,” opening Wednesday, Dec. 12.

In fact, audience members will feel like one of the family at the end of the show, said Grace Ashford, who plays Olivia, the matriarch of the Spencer family.

For anyone who has seen the TV show “The Waltons,” the plot of “The Homecoming” will sound familiar, and that is because the play is based on a novella by Earl Hamner Jr. That piece became a 1971 Hallmark TV special called “The Homecoming” that was so popular, that the network asked the author to turn it into a TV show, called “The Waltons,” which first aired in 1972. The material is loosely based on Hamner’s life.

“He changed some names, like Clay-Boy in this play became John-Boy in “The Waltons,” noted OCHS drama teacher and director Karlyn Love. And the Spencer family in this play became the Walton family on the TV show.

But the message is still the same, “that one family can find so much love with so little,” she said.

Christmas Eve

The action all takes place on one night, Christmas Eve, in Virginia in 1933, during the Depression.

“We find out early on that Olivia’s husband had to leave town to look for work, and there is a big snowfall and the family is waiting for him to come home for Christmas,” Love said.

She chose the play, because she loved the family dynamic and she loved “The Waltons,” seeing them as the ideal family, Love said.

“It had been on my list for a long time, but I was afraid people hadn’t heard of it. And yes, it is a Christmas story, but it is so much more. It is about a father and son finding each other, and the main character, Clay-Boy, who wants to be a writer, finding his voice as an artist,” Love said.

“It is refreshing to see a Christmas story so full of love and meaning,” she added.

Although the original script does not call for townspeople, Love decided to add them in, because “the townspeople show visually that it takes a community to make strong families. It adds texture to the whole show and brings the play to life.”

With that in mind, she cast 10 faculty members who play some of the townspeople, because “it is so fun to see the faculty and students come together on a different plane.”


Karmin Tomlinson, a former social sciences teacher who retired in 2011 after 37 years at OCHS, plays Mrs. Harper in “The Homecoming,” and noted that this is her fifth show with the drama department.

She gets choked up, she said, because she loves working with the students over the years, watching them grow as people and performers, and she also loves working with Love, for whom she has so much respect.

She described her character as a “dirt poor” mother and wife, struggling to make ends meet, and noted that her favorite scene is a charity-gift giving event in the town square.

Ashford, who is a senior, said playing mother to students her age has been “a bit of a stretch,” because she doesn’t think of herself as the mothering type.

But she has tapped into something inside herself and the result “makes me feel warm and happy,” she said.

As Olivia Spencer, she is a mother and a wife and the family is the center of who she is.

“She puts her children and husband before herself and her own needs. In the opening scene, she tries to hide her worry about her husband; she knows she has to stay strong for the kids,” Ashford added.

Her favorite scene is the opening of the play, which “sets up for the audience what this family is like. There are eight kids, and each one is a little individual, sprouting up, and Olivia is the ringmaster.”

Senior Chayne Husband plays Clay-Boy, who at 15 is the oldest child in the family.

“He’s at that transitional stage, where he is a little too old to play with his brothers and sisters, and too young to be involved with the adults,” Husband said.

“He is trying to find his place in the family and in the world,” he said, adding that his character knows that he wants to be a writer, but also knows that this is not what his father wants him to be.

“Sometimes you have to choose what will help the family, and not just what will make you happy,” he added.

He has an imaginary conversation with his father, which is one of his favorite scenes, and his other favorite involves a contrasting conversation with his mother.

“I can’t explain to my dad how I’m feeling, but I go to my mom, and come out with all these beautiful thoughts,” Husband said.

Family ties

Love recommends the play for young people 10 and up, and she is a bit wary about younger children seeing the show, because “there is a frank discussion about the existence of Santa Claus.”

However, teens will enjoy “The Homecoming,” Love said, because they will “relate to a parent not understanding them. Not understanding who you are, what you want to be and what you want to do with your life.”

Husband agrees, adding, “Teens today will connect with my character and my sister Becky’s character. We are just reaching the teenage stage and they don’t think their parents understand them and they are rebelling against the norm. They want to live different lives than their parents.”

No one, Husband said, has the perfect family, so seeing the show will help people look at their own life and figure out how to make Christmas better for their own families.

Ashford said “The Homecoming” is “a nice reminder of what the season should be about. You bring together the people you love; it’s not about material things, as long as you have each other.”

Fast Facts

The Oregon City High School Drama Department presents “The Homecoming,” a play based on the book by Earl Hamner Jr.

Dec. 12, 13, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Venue: The OCHS Auditorium, 19761 S. Beavercreek Road, Oregon City

Tickets: $8 purchased the day of the show only; the box office opens at 6:45 p.m.

For more information: visit ochs.orecity.k12.or.us and click on Departments>Drama.

The play is recommended for children ages 10 and older.

Call 503-785-8980.