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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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Visit the future with Oregon City resident


Portland is awash in talent this week, as Fertile Ground 2014, a festival showcasing new work in the arts, continues through Feb. 2.

by: PHOTO BY KEITH BUCKLEY - Dancer Sumi Wu is surrounded by castmates, from left, Caren Graham, Oregon City resident Ken Iverson, Rick Huddle and Anne Rutherford. Opening Thursday, Jan. 30, “Scenes from the Future” will take audiences “down the rabbit hole, where they will spend time in the principal’s office, have an exotic cruise, learn how an engineer found life in a heating duct, and have original dance highlighted and woven throughout the show,” said Oregon City resident Ken Iverson, one of the performers in the show.

Attendees won’t have to follow Alice to Wonderland to see the show, but they will need to journey to Portland’s Grace Memorial Episcopal Church, 1535 N.E. 17th Ave., where “Scenes from the Future” will be performed at 8 p.m. on Jan. 30, and at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Feb. 1 and 2.

Iverson is one of five artists in the show, each one showcasing a part of a larger show.

“This wonderful idea came from Anne Rutherford, who will premiere her one-woman ‘Alice In Wonderland.’ My part of the show will be storytelling, with some of the stories partially acted out. My stories begin in grade school where Sumi Wu, a wonderful dancer, will play the role of my sixth-grade sweetheart and Rick Huddle will be the voice of the school principal,” he said.

In addition to Rutherford and Iverson’s pieces, Huddle, a storyteller and dancer, will debut a new solo presentation; Caren Graham will perform a comedy monologue; and Wu will interweave throughout the show, dancing to the live music of Portland-based Al Andalus, said Rutherford, who also is the director of “Scenes from the Future.”

“I think the audiences will really enjoy the variety that is in this show.  We have stories, both told and dramatized, and we have incredible dances. One of the dances that Sumi will be doing simply takes my breath away every time I see it,” Iverson said.One story that Iverson tells takes place during a sixth-grade math test, when Bonnie, the prettiest girl in the class, smiles at him.

“Suddenly, I had my first experience with hormones running amok. With our teacher grading papers and not watching us, I rose from my desk and quietly made my way over to Bonnie’s desk. She looked up, surprised to see me, and when our eyes met, I couldn’t resist and found myself leaning over, closer and closer, intending to kiss her,” he said.

Come to the show to find out what happened next, he said.

“Plus,” he added, “The stories will give you something both to be thankful for and to smile about. Our show is about life, and what a show it is.”

Fertile Ground

This is Rutherford’s first Fertile Ground experience as a producer and a performer, and she has relished the chance to collaborate rather than compete with fellow dramatic artists, she said. She chose to shine a spotlight on these five new pieces, because, she said, “The power of a solo performer moves me, and audiences, like nothing else.”

She has worked with all four of the others in one form or another over the years and said she chose to collaborate with them “not only for their excellence as artists but also for their substance as human beings.”

She also wanted to encourage each of them to do a solo show, keeping company with her one-woman “Alice in Wonderland” project.

“Though our pieces are stand-alone, the combination of our energy and expertise in rehearsal has been truly astonishing,” Rutherford said.

“When we got together for our first meeting and discussed our photo shoot, dressed as aliens for an audience attending ‘Scenes from the Future,’ Rick said, ‘I have a space helmet,’ Caren and Ken said, ‘I have alien antennae,’ and Sumi said, ‘I’m bringing Princess Leia hair!’ I knew I was working with the right group,” she added.

Iverson also enjoyed the collaboration process, noting that “every rehearsal brings new elements out of each of our performances, which is very exciting. My actual show will span the arc from grade school until the time I found myself sitting on an island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, watching the points of light as an unarmed Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile was re-entering the atmosphere and heading in my direction.

He swears that the ICBM story is true.

Rutherford says audiences who attend “Scenes from the Future” will be inspired to take a look at their own lives, and they will admire “our guts and our humor; plus we are pretty cute, in a Portland-esque kind of way.”

For tickets and more information about “Scenes from the Future,” visit scenesfromthefuture .com.