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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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OCHS brings classic kids' book to life onstage


by: PHOTO BY MARK SCHWAHN - Featured actors in the OCHS play Stuart Little include Natalia Shavlovsky (Mrs. Little), Blaine Holbert (Stuart Little), Sam Babst (Mr. Little) and Dusty Nevett (George Little).   What would it be like to live life if you were only 3 inches tall?

Audience members will find out when they watch “Stuart Little” unfold on the Oregon City High School stage, starting May 22.

The play, based on E.B. White’s book “Stuart Little,” is staged in story-theater style, said director Karlyn Love, adding that all 40 cast members and two crew members are in her play production class.

There are narrators who help move the action along, and the centerpiece onstage is a giant book that opens up to reveal illustrations of the Little family’s house and other locations.

“Our goal is to bring the book alive” for audiences of all ages, Love said, noting she hopes there will be lots of children in the audience.

“The show is built for kids. There will be lots of interaction with the audience, and it is less than one hour long. We wanted to do a show that would encourage more of the community to attend,” she said.

Channeling optimism

Blaine Holbert, 15, who plays Stuart Little, said his character shows that “size has nothing to do with it. It’s temperament and ability that count” in life.

“Those are words to live by. You can control your attitude, and you can control how hard you work,” Love said.

Holbert brings a bit of himself to the character, he noted, adding, “I try to bring out some of my own goofiness.”

He loves Stuart’s optimism, and said that one line in the play sums up his character: “I am filled with the joy of life.”

Although Stuart’s parents try to treat him as just another member of the family, “we are a bit more loose around him, to try to make him feel normal,” said Sam Babst, 17, who plays Mr. Little.

He based his character on his own father, he said, adding he loves the dry humor of Mr. Little, who says things like, “Well, he does look a lot like a mouse.”

That ironic tone is set right from the start of the play when one of the narrators says, “It is unusual for an American family to have a mouse, even in New York,” Love said.

“There is something about this family that is so endearing. It doesn’t seem to bother them that their second son is a mouse. They even change the words to ‘Three Blind Mice’ and ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ because they don’t want Stuart to feel different,” she said.

Of course, not everyone in the family is so sweet. The Littles’ older son, George, is a bit jealous of Stuart and thinks his parents give Stuart more attention, said Dusty Nevett, 18, who plays George.

“George is about 11 years old, and easily distracted. He can be very annoying to his parents. I’m not really that type of person, so it’s been fun to be annoying through the whole play,” Nevett said.

He based his character on his twin 9-year-old cousins, who are very hyperactive, he said.

Down to the basics

Even though the play is a comedy aimed at children, “it also shows how to raise a child who is different. The lesson is that you treat everybody the same, respectfully. Stuart turns out to be well-adjusted, happy and confident.

“He does not let being 3 inches tall stop him. He rides the bus in New York City and does not let anything get him down,” Love said.

She added that she recently read a biography about White that explained how he came to write “Charlotte’s Web.” When White was a young boy, he was sick and stayed home from school one day, and a mouse came into his room.

“He trained it and kept it as a pet. I feel like ‘Stuart Little’ came about because of that pet. It gave him the idea,” she said.

The humor in the play revolves around the fact that everyone Stuart meets treats him as a person. He is different, but he is accepted at face value, Love said.

Her favorite scene takes place in a school when Stuart is asked to be a substitute teacher.

“He goes into the school, and his philosophy of teaching is priceless. The first thing he does is throw out the academics, and he and the students sit and talk about what it means to be a good person. He teaches them about right and wrong.”

Fast facts

The Oregon City High School Theatre Arts Department presents E.B. White's “Stuart Little,” opening on Wednesday, May 22, and continuing May 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the high school. Tickets are $8, and are available at the door only. The play is recommended for all ages. For more info, call 503-785-8980.