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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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'Kiss Me Kate' asks 'Can he tame her?'


“Brush Up Your Shakespeare” and prepare for “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” because when “Kiss Me Kate” heats up the stage it’s going to be “Too Darn Hot.”

Those three songs, along with a slew of other classic Cole Porter tunes, are sure to be crowd-pleasers, said David Smith-English, the director of the musical, which opens at Clackamas Repertory Theatre on Aug. 3.

Although CRT is based in Oregon City at Clackamas Community College, it stars Happy Valley resident Leif Norby, familiar to Portland audiences since 1992, and Merideth Kaye Clark, who has just moved to Portland.

The two actors play dual roles, Norby as Fred/Petruchio, and Clark as Lilli/Kate, in the show, which is sort of a musical within a musical.

by:  PHOTO BY TRAVIS NODURFT -  Leif Norby, Merideth Kaye Clark, James Sharinghousen and Amelia Morgan-Rothschild get ready for some drama in CRTs upcoming 'Kiss Me Kate.'The plot revolves around a feuding theatrical couple, Fred and Lilli, who were once married to each other, and who now are starring in a musical production of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.”

There is intense conflict onstage as Petruchio seeks to “tame Kate, marry her and live happily ever after, and then there is their relationship offstage, which mirrors what is happening onstage,” Smith-English said.

Leading roles

Smith-English has worked with Norby twice before at CRT, and said he would not even have attempted to direct this “big, hard show,” without Norby as the leading man.

“He sounds fabulous. Cole Porter’s songs really fit guys like Leif, with his high baritone voice,” Smith-English said.

“Kiss Me Kate” marks the Portland debut for Clark, who was last seen onstage here as Elphaba in the first national tour of the Broadway musical “Wicked.”

Originally from Kansas City, Mo., she earned a master’s degree in musical theater at San Diego State University, and it was in California where she began her career as a concert artist and musical theater performer. She has a host of theatrical credits all over the United States, so why come to Portland?

“It’s a love story,” she said, adding that she met a Portland guy when she was in Florida, and had a long-distance relationship for a year.

“I was doing a show Off Broadway, and when it closed I was ready to take a break from New York City. When I came to Portland on tour with ‘Wicked,’ it was my favorite spot on the tour,” she said, so she jumped at the opportunity to return.

When Clark auditioned for the role in “Kiss Me Kate,” she was “exactly what I was looking for. She has an incredible voice and wonderful vocal technique,” Smith-English said.

“She is such a good actor. When I tell her one thing, it’s done, and Leif is doing the same thing,” he said.

The two actors have an excellent rapport onstage, and they are able to bring out the humor in the script, while at the same time “when we stop for those touching moments, they mean something,” Smith-English said. “To hear them sing these songs is wonderful, and that alone is worth the price of admission.”

Leif Norby

Norby has performed at Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage and Broadway Rose, among other theater groups in Portland.

He has wanted to play Fred/Petruchio in “Kiss Me Kate,” ever since he saw a production of it years ago. He also loved the movie version of “The Taming of the Shrew,” with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

“Fred is a longtime actor, who has a lot of ego, but it comes from a very honest place. He loves what he does; it is everything to him,” Norby said.

He and Lilli have been divorced only for one year, and this is their first time back on a stage together since the split.

“The theater has been his whole world, but as the show progresses, Fred discovers that what is even more important to him is his relationship and love for Lilli. He didn’t realize this before. They really do belong together,” Norby said.

“I have been thoroughly enjoying the interplay with Merideth. As we flesh out these roles, it has been the most fun discovering these four characters,” he said.

Merideth Kaye Clark

It has always been her dream to live and perform in the same city, and when she was in New York City, she found herself on tour most of the time, so Portland is her new artistic home, Clark said. She already has lined up several more roles, including one in “Fiddler on the Roof,” for Portland Center Stage.

Lilli/Kate “has been on my bucket list of roles. She is one of the best female leads in the musical theater canon. I love the complexity of the role. I get to do some Shakespeare and some real conflict.”

Lilli is the “quintessential diva who demands attention and takes over a room when she walks in,” Clark said, adding, “Onstage she is a cantankerous Elizabethan woman, but as she plays that character with her ex-husband, she finds that underneath it all, they are still in love.”

Her favorite moment?

“Leif and I had a great time working out the fight scene amongst Shakespeare’s text. I get to slap him five times and it ends with him spanking me,” she said.

Which brings up a troubling point: How do you do “The Taming of the Shrew” for a modern audience, without seeming inappropriate?

Smith-English posed that question, and answered it by saying, “We’ve figured out how to do that. Shakespeare’s women always win.”

He added that the 1996 revival of the show has changed it from “a museum piece to an exciting piece. It feels very fresh and tempos are very fast. We celebrate the blatant theatricalness that we see going on here.”

Give 'em a kiss

What: Clackamas Repertory Theatre presents “Kiss Me Kate”

Where: Osterman Theatre at Clackamas Community College, 19600 S. Molalla Ave., Oregon City

When: Aug. 3 through Aug. 25; 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Details: Tickets may be purchased by calling 503-594-6047 or at clackamasrep.org.

More: Merideth Kaye Clark will present a solo concert at the Osterman Theatre at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18. She will sing “People,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and other vocal classics, along with playing and singing her own original music.