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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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'Julius Caesar' opens, 'Secret Garden' heads to state stage


by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Julius Caesar, center, played by Chris Kline, meets his maker at the hands of cast members. Heather King, far right, directs the famous assassination scene.The two Milwaukie High School productions could not be more different — the first is the modern-dress production of “Julius Caesar,” opening March 14, and the second is the re-mounting of the fall musical “The Secret Garden,” which will open the state thespian conference April 4.

by: PHOTO BY KATHERINE PENN - Maisie Sanchez, center, as Mary in 'The Secret Garden' is surrounded by, left to right, Kyle Grigg, Cipriana Mabaet, Jozeph Erickson, Ruby Willey, Savannah Ryan and McKayla Sheldrake.Scott Walker, the drama teacher at MHS and the director of both productions, is a busy man right now. He is thrilled that “The Secret Garden” was chosen as one of three productions that will be seen at the conference.

“It is the equivalent of an athletic team winning a state title,” Walker said. And what is especially sweet about being chosen, is that he did not set out to enter the musical for consideration at the state level.

After the run of “The Secret Garden” in November, Walker said his technical director told him he should enter the musical in the competition. It was too late to have a committee member see the play, so Walker entered a DVD of it, and on Feb. 2 was told the show had been selected.

“We knew we had an excellent show. These kids deserve an extra pat on the back,” he said.

Audiences have one more chance to see a dress rehearsal of “The Secret Garden” on the main stage at MHS at 7 p.m. April 2, but for now Walker is focused on getting “Julius Caesar” ready for its debut.

‘Julius Caesar’

Walker, who has studied Shakespeare in both London and Ashland, decided to set the play in the United States in modern times “because it is all about political ambition and the things that people will do to achieve that objective.”

After watching the furor surrounding the November election, Walker decided that “all the battles in Washington, D.C., are the same as the battles in ‘Julius Caesar.’ The action in the play is mirrored in modern politics.”

Walker and the cast are having a great time. “It is rewarding to me as an English teacher. We are looking at iambic pentameter and tracing the speech of Marc Antony. We are studying the structure of written language to determine motivation and intent” for all the characters.

Audience members should see “Julius Caesar,” even if they studied it in high school and hated it.

“They will see a strong, modern interpretation, and they will be intrigued with the political motivations. They should come and see it, especially if they have never seen a live Shakespeare play. Shakespeare was meant to be seen and not just read at a desk,” Walker said.

Fight choreography

Although Walker considers himself a “Shakespeare freak,” he has had no training in fight choreography, so he brought in Tyson Dailey and his assistant, Heather King, to work with the students.

Fresh out of college, both have had plenty of fight training at Central Washington University, and Dailey recently studied at David Boushey’s International Stunt School in Seattle, King said.

The pair likes working with high school students, she said, noting that “we always start with good basic training, including safety rules.”

There is no actual sword fighting in “Julius Caesar,” but there is the famous assassination scene and a crucial mob scene where an actor is attacked and chased off stage.

Dailey and King tell the students that a fight scene is a partnership and is almost like a dance.

“We start them off in slow motion, and they take to it pretty well. We have to choreograph it so that it’s exciting enough to keep them intrigued, but simple enough to be done safely in a short amount of time,” King said.

The Secret Garden

It will be a huge job to re-mount “The Secret Garden,” which will play on a much smaller stage in Salem, but then the entire endeavor was a challenge, Walker said.

Before he cast the musical, he told his students last fall that this would be the hardest show ever done at the high school, and “they were up for the challenge,” he said.

The cast is nearly 40 strong, and cast members all will travel to Salem for the thespian conference.

The story revolves around Mary, whose parents died of cholera in India. Mary is then sent to Yorkshire, England, to live with her Uncle Archibald. Archibald is a hunchback who fell in love with Mary’s mother’s sister, Lily, who then died shortly after giving birth to their only child, Colin.

Mary reminds Archibald of his late wife, and Colin also brings back painful memories, so he keeps Colin locked up in a bedroom.

Eventually Archibald goes away to Paris, to escape his memories.

Meanwhile Mary, who is indeed the “Mary, Mary, quite contrary” of the nursery rhyme, is behaving like a spoiled brat, thinking the staff should wait on her hand and foot.

Ultimately, she learns humility from working with the staff, and she forces Colin to get out of bed and go into the garden. Colin gets some exercise and grows stronger, and the two young people nurture the garden, which also thrives.

“Mary writes Archibald a letter, asking him to please come home. He does and sees Colin is strong and healthy, so there is a happy ending,” Walker said.

Sophomore Maisie Sanchez plays Mary, and her real-life sister, Hannah, plays her stage sister, Lily, in the production.

Maisie said she is happy to be taking the musical to the state conference. “It has been exciting to be in a show with my sister, and a cool experience to know we made a state-worthy show. And the music is amazing,” she said.

Audiences will enjoy seeing the changes in Mary’s character as the show progresses, Maisie said.

“At first she is a bratty girl who expects everyone to wait on her, but throughout the play she realizes that you have to work for things. You see her go from a spoiled girl to someone who cares and is passionate about something,” she said.

Fast facts

Milwaukie High School Theatre Arts department presents “Julius Caesar”

When: 7 p.m. March 14, 15 and 16

Where: J.C. Lillie Auditorium at the high school, 11300 S.E. 23rd Ave.

Cost: Tickets are $8.

More: Call 503-353-5840, ext. 38415.

All are welcome at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at Milwaukie High’s J.C. Lillie Auditorium to see the final dress rehearsal of “The Secret Garden.” The musical then heads to Salem for the Oregon Thespians State Conference April 4-6.

Thespians from Clackamas and Rex Putnam high schools also qualified for the state tournament.

Students from CHS include: Megan Bradner, Tanner Cook, Keenan Dolan, Onalee Duhrkoop, Blake Dunbar, JD Erickson, Drew Franklin, Dillon King, Charles Kleever, Keenan Kok-Carlson, Aidan Nolan, Glen Peak, Jacob Smith, Jake Thiesen, Mathew Thomas, Nate Walker and Alex Whitehead.

Students from RPHS include: Emily Gassaway, Madeline Kitzmiller, Gavin Schneider and Josef Seeger.