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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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Chautauqua chorus performs 'Out Under the Sky'


The Chautauqua Community Chorus, at St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Gladstone, will present “Out Under the Sky,” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. The performances feature early-American carols of the pilgrims, settlers, Native peoples and more.

by: PHOTO BY DICK TRTEK - Jamie Webster conducts the Chautauqua Community Chorus as they rehearse for their upcoming concerts on Dec. 7 and 8.Also on the bill are members of the St. Stephen bell choir and worship team.

The Chautauqua Community Chorus has been performing for 13 years, and the 30-member choir will be conducted by Jamie Lynn Webster, who has been the CCC conductor since 2010.

She chooses the concert programs by thinking about special pieces that she wants the chorus and the audience “to experience, in combination with pieces readily available in our choir library, and that give the program adequate breadth.”

She added that there is always too much to choose from and so only the very best ends up in the final program. She also likes to focus on a different historical era of music with “a different positive and/or provocative message to offer.”

‘Out Under the Sky’

As she was looking around for numbers for this upcoming concert she fell in love with a piece called “Francis Whitmore’s Wife,” that describes a pioneer woman’s life in winter. “The text, by songwriter Carole Moody Crompton, adapts entries from Elizabeth Whitmore’s diary. She was an early settler in Vermont, who found courage and strength through the hardship and loneliness of a long winter with only her daughter by her side,” Webster said.

The song also represents the shape-note tradition; shape-notes, she added, help singers find their pitch.

As she looked at other pieces that might work well with this one, she found a number of “lovely, fascinating and similarly moving early American carols and choral pieces — some also from the shape-note traditions, often revolving around the text themes of the lonely winter’s journey out under the stars, hearkening back to the first Christmas long ago and far away, while also seeking the heart’s truest desire for love and belonging in the here and now,” Webster said.

“Our sing-along portion of the program will include some of the best-loved among these, such as ‘I Wonder as I Wander,’ from which our concert title, ‘Out Under the Sky,’ is taken.”

Webster said she also is including pieces by William Billings, known as the “father of American choral music,” and William Walker, who wrote in the shape-note tradition.

“Additionally, I’m pleased to present one of my own compositions, an arrangement of the well-known ‘Huron Carol,’ in which a history of the carol plays out in the different verses,” she said.

The concert also will feature choral pieces associated with varied cultural groups within early America — songs and carols from African-American, Anglo, French-Canadian, German, Moravian and Native American traditions.

Music for the soul

Both “Out Under the Sky” concerts are free and open to all ages, with activities for children that will include a visit from St. Nicholas. A donation benefits local, worthy charities providing shelter for local homeless families who would otherwise be sleeping “out under the sky,” Webster said.

People should attend the concerts because “there is something about these pieces that is like musical comfort food for the soul. The melodies are lovely and soulful, the rhythms are strong, sometimes dancelike, the harmonies are true and the texts are powerful and uplifting.”

Kristi Beyer has been a member of the chorus for three years. What she likes best about it is that the pieces are “challenging, and you get to sing with a full choir. When you hear all the harmonies, all the high and low voices, it is just awesome.”

It is a “joyous time of the year” for a concert, she said, noting that this year she gets to sing a solo in “Francis Whitmore’s Wife.”

She added, “The first time I came to a concert, it was as an audience member. I said this is a hidden secret; this is Broadway-quality music in Gladstone.”

Also taking part in the concerts will be the St. Stephen Bell Choir, led by Emily Boleyn. This group has been playing for 26 years, since 1977.

“They began with a two-octave set of bells from a memorial gift, and now have four-and-a-half octaves, played by 10 ringers. The bells range from very tiny to very large, and many techniques of bell playing are included on the program — including playing with mallets, and different kind of ringing arm swings,” Webster said.

The St. Stephen Bell Choir will give an additional program at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Gladstone City Library.

Choral conducting

Webster has been leading vocal groups for nearly 20 years, though choral conducting, specifically, has played a larger role in her musical activities since 2010. She also is the assistant conductor for ViVoce Revels.

Webster earned her first music degrees in music education and vocal performance at Chico State, where she studied choral conducting with William Ramsey.

After spending time in Chicago, performing with Lira — a Polish arts ensemble — and other multicultural music and dance groups, Webster studied musicology, focusing on music for drama, and ethnomusicology, focusing on Balkan and Eastern European singing, at the University of Oregon.

She earned her doctorate degree in 2009, following the completion of her dissertation on “Harry Potter” film music.

All these experiences and studies inform her work at St. Stephen, she said, adding, “We welcome you to share this wonderful holiday program with us. Singers and audience members have commented how each concert offers a fascinating mix of music not likely to be heard elsewhere in the greater Portland area.”

Sing your heart out

What: The Chautauqua Community Chorus presents “Out Under the Sky,” conducted by Jamie Lynn Webster, with Karen Corbett, rehearsal accompanist

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8

Where: St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 290 W. Gloucester, Gladstone

Cost: Free, but a donation benefits local organizations serving the homeless.

Contact: For more information, call 503-656-8194.

More: The Chautauqua Community Chorus is a musical sanctuary — a safe place to sing— with no audition, fees, or religious affiliation required, and is open to any adult or teen.