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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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Gladstone performer dances away with a Drammy


Who knew that a lively tale about the friendship between a frog and toad would be so popular? For anyone who attended the Drammy Awards ceremony in Portland on June 10, it soon became evident that the Oregon Children’s Theatre production of “A Year With Frog and Toad” was not only well-loved, but well-rewarded.

The show won seven Drammy Awards, and one of them went to Gladstone resident Haley Ward, who will be a junior at GHS next fall. She won early in the ceremony, picking up her award for Outstanding Achievement by a Young Performer.

by: PHOTO BY OWEN CAREY - Haley Ward, far right, warbles a song with fellow birds, Eric Little and Rebecca Teran, in 'A Year With Frog and Toad.'Noteworthy achievement

The Drammy Awards are “like the Tony Awards for Portland theater, for plays and musicals. It is a big deal in the community,” she said.

“It is a big achievement for me, as most of the awards go to adults, and there are only two categories for young people,” Ward said, adding that she was surprised by her win.

Two people who have worked with Ward, however, were not in the least surprised.

“Haley has an amazing attitude, is super positive and incredibly talented,” said Dani Baldwin, the director of “A Year With Frog and Toad.”

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Haley Ward shows off her Drammy Award, which she won for Outstanding Achievement by a Young Performer.Baldwin, the education director at OCT, added, “I am happy for her — she deserves it.

“Haley is one of our favorite kids. We met her over a year ago at our ‘Aida’ musical-in-a-week held at the Ainsworth House in Oregon City, and we anticipate working with her a lot in the near future,” said Chanda Hall, the artistic director of Staged! a Portland-based organization committed to working with young people and giving them professional training in musical theater and more.

“She is a one-in-a-million talent, but it is her personality that wins you over,” Hall said.

Sharpened skills

Ward started off working with Hall at Staged! in several productions and workshops, and then decided to audition for OCT.

She was cast in two shows, “Duck for President,” in 2012, and “A Year With Frog and Toad,” in 2013.

“When I worked on ‘Aida’ for Staged!, something clicked in me. And then at OCT I learned the depth of character development, working with four professionals on stage. I was not afraid to ask questions and there were no barriers between the adults and kids,” Ward said.

In “A Year With Frog and Toad,” Ward played two roles, Mouse and Lady Bird.

“The play is about two friends, Frog and Toad, and we follow them on their adventures. They have their ups and downs, and they have to prove their friendship as the play progresses,” she said.

Her two favorite scenes revolved around two songs, “Get a Load of Toad” and “Cookies.”

In the first, the characters tease Toad about looking funny in a bathing suit, and in the cookie scene, “Mouse is being logical, but at the same time feels love for Toad,” Ward said.

The best thing about the whole OCT experience was “how connected we were as a cast. Everyone is so professional, there were no weak links. Collectively we cared about each other, and Dani had a fantastic view of the show,” Ward said.

To keep her skills sharp during the summer, Ward attended an OCT “boot camp,” an intensive five-day workshop where she studied character development and learned about all the different careers available in the theater world.

High school days

Ward has plenty of activities to keep her busy at Gladstone High School, where she will be an officer for the junior class, is on the Gladstone Gladettes Dance Team, which took third place at state this past spring, is a member of the Gay/Straight Alliance and is in the school choir.

Sadly, there are no drama classes at GHS, since there is no drama teacher.

Two teachers in other departments are doing their best to fill that gap, however, Ward said.

Last year social studies teacher Jessica Voodre and music/choir teacher Jim Gent directed “A Very Potter Musical,” which Ward described as “a parody musical that was the biggest and best thing we have ever done.”

What shocked her the most about the production was the fact that she had no idea there were so many talented kids in the school.

As for her own future, Ward will continue to audition in Portland for a variety of shows and plans to continue her interest in drama in college.

But for now, she is happy to be part of the Portland-area theater community “where I am always surrounded by talent and by love.”

Gettin’ creative

Find out more about Oregon Children’s Theater at octc.org. The mission statement for the organization describes OCT as a place “to advance growth, development and creativity through exceptional theater experiences, presenting professional live theater for youth at a price affordable to schools and families. By introducing young people to the wonders of live theater, OCT enriches lives today while helping children develop a lifetime appreciation for the arts.”

Visit the Staged! website, at stagedpdx.org.

In addition to Haley Ward’s award for Outstanding Young Performer, “A Year With Frog and Toad” also picked up six other Drammy Awards for Scenic Design, Costume Design, Choreography, Outstanding Production, Musical Actor in a Supporting Role and Musical Actor in a Lead Role.