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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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Animals center stage in Children's Theatre 'Wardrobe'


{img:9138}A dapper, tuxedo-clad lion, a witch and a cast of 44 will take the stage this Thursday, Feb. 14, when Oregon City Children’s Theatre presents “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

The production, directed by OCCT founder Michelle Leigh, is based on C.S. Lewis’ book of the same name, and is staged in a way to take the audience to Narnia, right along with the four actors who play the Pevensie children.

The cast has five adults and nearly 40 children, most older than 10.

The plot follows the Pevensie children as they are evacuated from London during World War II. They find a wardrobe and a large closet in the home of Professor Kirke, and that leads them to the magical land of Narnia, where they encounter Aslan, a talking lion and the evil White Witch.

“The four children, the professor and his housekeeper are the only humans we meet in the real world, and the witch is the only human we meet in Narnia,” Leigh said. “All the rest of the characters are animals, and my vision was not to try to make them look like animals, but to look like humans, dressed in the likeness of that animal.”

Thus, Aslan will strut around stage clad in a butterscotch colored tuxedo, a brocade vest in shades of chocolate and a regal red and gold sash. And a hand-crafted lion mask, made by a professional mask maker — it will especially delight the younger members of the audience, Leigh said.

Beth Dodge, Leigh’s 18-year-old daughter, plays the White Witch, and is normally “a kind, gentle soul” who plays the princess roles, Leigh said.

But for this role, she has tapped into her scary side and has learned to do tricks with her sword, which is almost as tall as her.

“It has been fun to see her become this great character and go into battle,” Leigh said.

Dodge also designed the “full-out animal” makeup for the show and has taught most of the characters to apply the stage makeup themselves.

OCCT has always embraced the idea of getting kids to realize they can do anything; to be empowered and take charge, Leigh said, adding, “It is fun to watch 10- and 12-year-olds putting on their faces.”

Special moments

When she directs, Leigh said, she tells her actors they have to make it real to themselves and that makes it real to the audience.

“I tell them to act based on emotion or intuition; when kids finds those moments, it moves me,” she said.

The really big moment in the show is the battle scene, and she hired a professional fight choreographer, John Armour, to stage it, Leigh said.

“He taught a phenomenal battle sequence with 40 actors, and it takes place on the audience floor area right up front and in the aisles; the audience is surrounded by the battle,” she noted.

“The battle put me to tears; there is intense music playing, and I have never done anything to that scale before,” Leigh said.

Ultimately, she wants the audience to realize that the whole show is about “taking a journey out of trust and love and following through to the end.”

She has also been moved by the journey of one of the actors in the show, 14-year-old Justin Dille, who has Asperger’s.

He was first in one of her shows six years ago, and he was very shy; last year she saw him take a leap out of his comfort zone, and this year he has taken a “huge jump” in playing Peter, the oldest Pevensie boy.

“He has taken on a British accent and learned a battle sequence. He also has two highly charged emotional moments in the play, one with Aslan when he thinks he’s a failure, and one when he thinks his brother is dead. To watch him grow has been amazing,” Leigh said.

Empowering children

The cast seems to be enjoying the process and characters are discovering things for themselves, she said.

“The crew is 99 percent children, including 12-year-olds on the stage crew, helped by some older cast members, and the lighting and sound crew is comprised of 14-year-olds, with some adult supervision.

“Backstage, we have six to eight parents whose goal is to guide the kids and help keep things organized. But the show is theirs — that has always been our goal,” Leigh said.

“We know who we are, and we are not trying to be something we’re not. We put on a good quality show, that is ample entertainment for the audience,” she said. “We provide a special opportunity for people in the community to do something they are passionate about. And it is always a beautiful end result.”

Fast Facts

Oregon City Children’s Theatre presents “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” Feb. 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23.

All performances start at 7 p.m. at the old Oregon City High School’s Jackson Street Theatre, 1306 12th St., in Oregon City.

Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and children 12 and under. General admission tickets will be sold at the box office before each performance. The box office opens at 6 p.m. Doors to the theatre open at 6:30 p.m. Handicapped access and seating available (Please call ahead to reserve in this area).

Visit occtheatre.org for more information, and to find out about April auditions for the musical to be presented in June.

Oregon City Children’s Theatre is a nonprofit organization committed to providing the opportunity of performing and learning stage craft to any child who expresses the desire to learn it. The theatre is organized and run primarily by volunteer parents, family and friends. What makes the program unique is that all aspects of the show, onstage and off, are handled completely by the children.