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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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'Stuart Little' set to delight audiences of all ages


Oregon City Children’s Theatre’s production of “Stuart Little,” the story of a tiny mouse and his adventures, is set to open on July 17, and audiences will find the show delightful, said director Michelle Leigh.

She fell in love with “Stuart Little,” when her daughter, Beth Dodge, was in the Oregon City High School production in 2013. And this is significant to Leigh, because now Dodge, 19, “is bringing a lot of energy to her role as assistant director.”

Stuart Little’by: PHOTO BY MICHELLE LEIGH - Double cast as Stuart Little are Jarrison Bolan, left, and Clayton Menta. The narrators behind them are: Azalinn Ennis, Jamaica Leland, Carmen Kamhoot, Ava Johnson, Alexis Davis and Kamryn Bolan.

“Stuart Little” will be the 23rd production for OCCT, which got its start 10 years ago, when Dodge, then 9, asked her mom to start a children’s theater company so she could be in plays.

The play is based on the famous children’s book of the same name by E.B White, and it is “very much a fantasy,” Leigh said.

The Little family lives in New York, and they decide to adopt a mouse, who is “immediately accepted and not seen as abnormal,” she said.

After facing a series of challenges, mostly involving cats and dogs, Stuart befriends a bird, who flies away. He decides to follow her, and for someone so small, that journey is quite an undertaking, Leigh said.

Because she wanted to “create a storybook world” for her production, Leigh contacted Mark Schwahn, the theater production manager at OCHS, and bought “a significant number of set pieces and props,” including the main set piece, an 8-foot by 10-foot book, with 10 illustrated pages, which the narrators turn as the play progresses.

Leigh likes to produce plays that challenge her actors, and “Stuart Little” gives all of her 39 actors at least one character to play.

“This show provides a solo moment for the actors and they have all risen to the occasion,” she said.


Although the show is a comedy aimed at children, there are many lessons to be learned in “Stuart Little,” Leigh said.

Unlike the movie of the same name, the book and the play really have no neatly wrapped up ending, with Stuart pointing out that the “journey doesn’t end, and you should never let your physical attributes stop you.”

One of Stuart’s characteristics is that he loves to help people, Leigh said, noting that at one point in his journey he takes on the role of a substitute teacher.

His students “learn something; he teaches them life skills, like how to live and value human life and each other.”

It is that scene, in fact, that is Dodge’s favorite in the play, partly because she directed it, and partly because many of the young actors in the classroom scene were some of the shyest at first, and she loved “seeing them go over the top.”

Fast-paced show

Both Leigh and Dodge commented on the fact that they have enjoyed seeing their young actors, most between the ages of 7 to 15, embrace the process of performing and staging this non-stop show.

“This is a children’s storybook; you can’t be too animated. There is only one act, so once you go on there is no stopping — it moves really fast,” Leigh said.

“Some of those really shy kids have really stepped up. One girl, who is nearly 12, has got a part with two or three pages of lines. And she’s playing the role of a man with a Southern accent; she’s got the cutest character going on,” Dodge said.

Dodge and her mother had a difficult decision to make at auditions, when they had two exceptional young men audition for Stuart.

In the end, after consulting both of the boys and their families, it was decided to double cast the role, so that both Jarison Bolan, 13, and Clayton Menta, 12, could play Stuart.

“They were both ecstatic to be offered the part and they immediately bonded,” Leigh said, noting that each boy plays Stuart for three performances, and that both boys also have small roles on the nights when they aren’t playing the title character.

“It’s a slightly different show, because they are very different boys, but they both have the gentle demeanor of Stuart; their goal is to not be identical and the process has worked,” Leigh said.

Audiences will like “how sincere Stuart is; he is the most ‘normal’ character, while everyone else is in a fantasy world,” Dodge said, adding, “It is kind of like a Disney movie — there are jokes for kids and jokes for adults.”

Family affair

Although this is Dodge’s first actual stint as an assistant director, she has been choreographing OCCT shows since 2010 and on occasion filled in for her mom.

She was active in the OCHS drama program, has appeared onstage in Clackamas Community College productions this past year and can currently be seen as an extra in Clackamas Repertory Theatre’s production of “The Philadelphia Story.”

And, of course, she has been in every OCCT production since 2005.

She took on the challenge of assistant directing, because she has “been looking to understand more of the backstage elements,” and all aspects of theater work.

Her biggest challenge?

“It is so difficult to try to form something in my brain into words that small children can understand; I’ve got those words in my head, but they can’t see my vision,” Dodge said.

She is looking ahead to continuing to study theater in college, either at UCLA or Southern Oregon University in Ashland.

And she is already planning for the summer of 2015, when she will be the sole director of OCCT’s “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.”

Enjoy the journey!

What: Oregon City Children’s Theatre presents “Stuart Little”

When: July 17, 18, 19, 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. and July 26 at 1 p.m.

Where: Old Oregon City High School’s Jackson campus, 1302 12th St.

Tickets: Adults, $7, and students/seniors, $5.

Details: For more information or to purchase tickets, visit occtheatre.org.