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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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Miracles swing onto the dance floor


When Sherry Summerville says she wants to give every child who comes to her dance studio a chance to shine, she means every single child, no matter the limitations.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Sherry Summerville, center, works with two of her regular dance students, including her daughter, Sydney, 17, left, and Hailey Dickerson, 11.She has always wanted to do a free dance program for those with special needs and is finally going to realize her goal Jan. 20, when the new Miracle Movers program begins at her dance studio, Spotlight Performing Arts, on Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard in Oak Grove.

Registration is open now online at spotlightpdx.com, but Summerville is hoping potential students and their parents will attend an open registration from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, so they can meet her and see the facility.

Miracle Movers is a special-needs dance team, for ages 8 and older, that will perform around the community. It is designed to help develop motor skills, teamwork and creative expression through dance. Participants will learn basic dance techniques, class etiquette, teamwork and spatial awareness.

“I am donating my time and my space. I don’t want people to have to pay to be involved. I want them to have the opportunity to shine without limitations, financial or otherwise,” Summerville said.

Young people with mental or physical disabilities are welcome, she added, saying she is following the same guidelines for participation that Special Olympics uses, although she is not at all affiliated with that organization.

Special-needs students will learn the basics of dance, just like the other students in her regular classes at Spotlight Performing Arts, but at their own pace. The end result will be a dance routine that Summerville will choreograph just for them.

Once sponsors are found to help with the cost of costumes for the group, the team will take the routine on the road, performing all over the area.

“We plan to feature them as our exhibition group in April at the Oregon Junior State Dance Championships,” held at Clackamas Community College, Summerville said.

“We want them to be in a place where they can appreciate other dancers, and other dancers can appreciate them.”

A studio of her own

Summerville said she has always had a love for working with special-needs students. Even when she was at the University of Portland, pursuing a degree in music education, one of her professors told her she should be working with special-needs children in fitness and dance.

But at first, Summerville took another route, performing professionally in leading roles in musicals like “A Chorus Line” and “Oklahoma,” and singing in a jazz trio called Euphoria. She also performed as a singer and dancer for Carnival Cruise Lines.

Eventually she returned to the area, and 12 years ago became the head coach for the Milwaukie High School Dance Team. In 2011 the MHS team took first place in its division at the OSAA State Dance Championships, and Summerville was named Coach of the Year, by the Dance and Drill Coaches Association.

That same year she took a brief hiatus to open her own dance studio, Spotlight Performing Arts, and then in 2012 became the head coach for the Rex Putnam High School Dance Team. In 2013, that dance team became the Oregon 5A dance champions.

Earlier, in 2004, Summerville and her sister, Debbie Kishpaugh, the dance coach at Pendleton High School, co-founded the Oregon Junior State Dance Team Championships.

“My sister and I realized there was no place for younger dance teams to compete, so we founded the junior group, for teams from first grade to middle school and junior high,” she said.

But they were not content to just provide a venue; soon the two came up with the idea to use the registration and entry fees to fund scholarships for the dancers competing at the OSAA championships. They must pay for the facility and judging, but every bit that is left over goes to the scholarships, Summerville said.

“Overall, we have donated $36,000 in scholarships. This is a way that young people can contribute to their future,” she added.

Team spirit

The overarching theme of Summerville’s studio is teamwork.

She knows the importance of celebrating every student’s individuality; about teaching students to appreciate what they can do, “but we all have to work together to function together in this world,” she said.

Her studio program has been a success in the area, she said, noting that “Spotlight has touched every dance team in North Clackamas. They are all state champions in their divisions.”

The idea for Miracle Movers came about in two ways; Summerville saw a program on TV about a special-needs cheerleading program, and then she helped with a student’s senior project, working with dance and special-needs kids in 2011.

“I oversaw the project, and I loved the joy that came out of the kids being a part of it. I could see them realizing they were just like other dancers. They were so proud of their accomplishments,” she said.

“They respond so well to fitness and dance. They just blossom when music comes on, and I want to facilitate their growth through music and dance,” Summerville said.

She added, “The arts are a beautiful way for kids to express themselves. They gain in confidence and presence. In this studio, we work together to accomplish a goal bigger than what any of us could do on our own.”

Miracle Movers

What: A special-needs dance team

When: Classes will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Mondays, starting Jan. 20

Where: Spotlight Performing Arts, 16101 S.E. McLoughlin Blvd.

Details: To register for this free program, call Sherry Summerville at 503-860-6562, or visit spotlightpdx.com. An open registration will be held at the studio from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14. All interested special-needs students age 8 and older and their parents are welcome.