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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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Classic 'Mockingbird' takes wing


Oregon City High School drama director Karlyn Love has wanted to direct “To Kill a Mockingbird” for years and is finally getting her chance.

by: PHOTO BY: KARMIN TOMLINSON - Atticus Finch (Mark Schwahn) comforts Scout (Jenika Flynn), left, as Jem (Danny Nelson) looks on.The classic story “about a noble lawyer named Atticus Finch, his precocious kids Jem and Scout, a small town facing a big challenge, and a man named Tom Robinson fighting for his life,” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. May 21, 22, 23 and 24 in the OCHS Auditorium.

“Oregon City High School has come a long way in terms of tolerance, acceptance and diversity, but we still have a long way to go. This story teaches tolerance and it is told through the eyes of a child. I think the message is easier to hear from Scout’s perspective,” Love said.

“It is also about learning to see past our differences as humans and look for what makes us all the same. Coupled with that important message is the fact that so many of our students read the book in English class. I thought it might draw a large audience,” she said.

Her biggest challenge has been finding African-American students to be in the cast who were able to commit to the show’s rehearsal schedule.

“It was not a lack of interest on anyone’s part, it was an inability to commit, a lack of experience in acting, stage fright, or schedules too packed with other activities,” Love said.

Student/faculty production

Every two years Love does a student/faculty production, and this one has 60 people in the cast; 15 of them are faculty members, many of whom have returned time after time to be in one of her shows.

“It is a unique chance to come together as equals for the student and faculty actors and stand in each other’s shoes for a time. The experience builds community between students and staff, and in our big school, that is so important,” she said.

This year is extra special for Love, since her husband, Mark Schwahn, is playing the lead role of Finch.

Schwahn, a professional actor and the theater production manager at OCHS, “has inspired most all of the cast to be better actors, especially in their scenes directly with him. It has been rewarding for me to see them relate to him in a new way and for them to get to see how really talented and wonderful he is,” she said.

This is her first time directing her husband, and she said he has been “so fabulous to work with. He has so much experience, he brings so much confidence and so many ideas into rehearsal, and he is so passionate about this story and playing Atticus that he infects us all with his enthusiasm.”

Love added, “I hope audiences will like the sense of community the play reveals. I hope they will be touched and inspired by the theme of don’t judge a person until you have stood in their shoes first, and I hope they will let the experience of the play bring back all of the good memories of reading the book in the first place, or if they did not like the book at first, that after seeing our play they are inspired to read it again and give it a second chance.”

Iconic characters

Probably the two most memorable characters in the book and the play are Finch and his 8-year-old daughter, Scout.

Schwahn said the biggest challenge has been to create his own version of Atticus and not just do an imitation of Gregory Peck, who played the role in the movie.

“Anytime you play a role that has been captured so iconically on film, the temptation is to study the movie and give people what they’re expecting or what they’re used to. I’m trying to find the parts of Atticus that are similar to me and bring those aspects out so that I can create my own original version of the character,” he said.

“The part of me that I’m trying the most to bring to Atticus is my sense of humor. It’s such a serious story, so dramatic, and I’m trying very hard to find some lighter moments and to show that Atticus can have a fun side — especially with his kids.”

The most enjoyable part of the show, so far, has been getting to work with his students as a peer rather than a teacher.

“At rehearsals we are both just actors working together, not student and teacher, and it’s allowed me to get to know some of my students on a more personal level that has been really fun and rewarding,” Schwahn said.

He also said he is enjoying being directed by his wife, who has “a terrific eye for staging pictures, has a great sense of how to tell the story, can talk to her actors about character and motivation, and is really good at communicating — all the things I look for in a director.”

Jenika Flynn, a junior, said the biggest challenge for her in playing Scout is having to revert back to being an 8-year-old girl.

“The part of myself I bring to this role is the listening. Scout is always listening and thinking through what other people say,” she said.

What has been the most fun for her is getting to work with so many actors and being on stage with some of the school’s teachers, getting to see a side of them she doesn’t always get to see.

Racial issues

Flynn said people should see the play “because it shows the effects of racism and shows how horrible it is. I think the play reminds us that there are still acts of racism done, and that we should stand up for what is right.”

Schwahn agrees, adding, the play deals with a story that still needs to be told.

“We are still struggling with racial issues, and we need to be reminded that we still have things to talk about, and that there is still improvement that needs to be made. However, this story helps us look at the issue in a simpler way, through the eyes of the kids, and so I think it can spur new ways of looking at it and, hopefully, new ways to talk about it,” he said.

The play also is an opportunity for audiences to see students and teachers working together as equals to tell an important story.

“It blurs the traditional lines of education, and that can be a really fun thing to experience,” Schwahn said.

What will audiences like best about “To Kill a Mockingbird”?

“The same things they love about the book and the movie: the relationships between Scout, Jem and Atticus, the characters’ struggle to find justice for Tom Robinson, the mystery of Boo Radley, seeing a difficult subject dealt with through the eyes of Scout and Jem, and the new way it can make you look at our world,” Schwahn said.

Who is Boo Radley?

What: Oregon City High School Theatre Arts Department presents Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

When: 7:30 p.m. May 21, 22, 23 and 24. Box office opens at 6:45 p.m.

Where: Oregon City High School Auditorium, 19761 S. Beavercreek Road.

Cost: $8 general admission. There are no advance ticket sales. Recommended for ages 13 and older.

More: Call 503-785-8980, or visit ochspioneers.org/arts/drama or facebook.com/ochsdramadepartment