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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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One-night-only event allows Clackamas County youth to shine


All 11 teens who took part in this summer’s Youth Theatre for Change program will get to tell their stories to an audience for one night only.

Photo Credit: PHOTO BY: DICK TRTEK - Co-director Kirk Mouser, far right, constructs the set for IMHO, with help from, from left, Madie, Tessa, Omar, Emily and Roy.At 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, the Clackamas County teens will perform “IMHO” in Rex Putnam High School’s Black Box Theater. IMHO stands for In My Humble Opinion, and the script came about through a collaboration with Debbie Lamedman, a professional playwright.

Photo Credit: PHOTO BY: DICK TRTEK - Tessa and Madie carry a set piece as the cast of IMHO get ready for rehearsal.  The teens met twice a week for several hours during the Youth Theatre for Change eight-week program, and in the early days worked with Lamedman.

“She did a series of writing exercises and used that content. She drew heavily on the youths’ own words, and the script is so close to what the youth wanted to say,” said Kim Menig, Youth Arts for Change coordinator for Clackamas County Arts Alliance, the agency that oversees Youth Theatre for Change.

The overall theme of the show is “what drives trust, what the youth care about, and what they believe in,” Menig said.

Through exposure to theater arts, the teens were given the opportunity to “build relationships with new people and make a positive difference in the community by sharing their stories,” Menig said.

The young people worked with theater professionals, listened to guest speakers and were told about possible internships in the field. Menig said that the purpose of the program was to “create opportunities for youth to learn new skills and benefit the community through what they share in performance.”

Menig added, “It’s been amazing for me to get to witness the talent and creativity of these youth. One young man spent an hour writing something that has become a part of the performance. It was powerful for everyone to see how focused he was.”

Who should come and see the show?

“People who care about the real voices of youth in the community. Our audience surveys from last year showed that people loved seeing the youth shine, loved hearing what they had to say and seeing them blossom,” Menig said.


Kelley Marchant, drama director at Rex Putnam High School, and Kirk Mouser, a professional actor and artistic director and founder of Stumptown Stages, based in downtown Portland, co-directed “IMHO.”

Marchant has been a part of Youth Theatre for Change for three years and Mouser has been involved for four years, since the program began.

This year’s students really “bought into the program from the very beginning. From the first day, they were excited to be here. It has been invigorating; it’s been fun,” Marchant said.

Working with this group of young people allows her to interact with Clackamas County youth in a different way from her everyday teaching assignment, she said.

Marchant added, “These students have valid points to make, and they are wise beyond their years. Their voices need to be heard, and we need to listen.”

For Mouser, the best thing about the Youth Theatre for Change program is how the young people work together to accomplish a common goal.

“There is something about the theater community. These kids are walking away from this program with a whole level of confidence,” he said.

“Through positive social interactions and working with authority figures guiding them creatively, these kids can tell their story in a safe environment, and they can find out who they really are,” Mouser said.

Looking forward

Last week, four of the young people took a few minutes off from set construction to discuss how they feel about being part of a theatrical production. Because of the nature of the Youth Theater for Change program, only their first names will be used.

David is one of the few participants who plans to become an actor, and has appeared in a musical production of “Guys and Dolls.”

It has been challenging for him, meeting so many different people, but he is looking forward to the production and seeing what the audience likes about it.

He urges people to come and see the show, “to understand how we’re just like everyone else.”

Emily was surprised that something she dreaded turned out to be something she looked forward to.

The program has kept her busy this summer, and she has especially liked “getting to relate to people.”

The biggest challenge for her has been “trying to keep everyone on as equal a partnership as possible.”

For Madie, the best part also has been “the social interactions with other kids,” and she has appreciated that “no one really judges us.”

Roy agrees with that, adding, “I’ve met a lot of new people and have enjoyed making new relationships. I learned that you are never alone; that there is always someone just like you.”

He noted, “Having your own words in the play makes you feel like you can strive to be better. People should come and watch this, because I don’t think a lot of people understand what younger people are dealing with, and they need to stop and listen.”


Menig said she is grateful to all the partners who have made this year’s program run so smoothly.

“Youth Theatre for Change is a partnership among the Clackamas County Arts Alliance (part of the larger Youth Arts for Change program), Rex Putnam High School, the Clackamas County Juvenile Department and North Clackamas School District,” she said.

Funders for Youth Theatre for Change include Clackamas County, Oregon Arts Commission, Meyer Memorial Trust, Juan Young Trust and the Autzen Foundation.

The main goals of Youth Theatre for Change are teaching students team-building and improvisation techniques and providing a supportive environment where youth voices can be heard.

The final performance will give the young people the chance to showcase their new-found skills.

Other goals include connecting Clackamas County teens with their community and exposing them to positive possibilities of creative expression.

See the show

What: Youth Theatre for Change presents “IMHO”

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21

Where: Black Box Theater at Rex Putnam High School, 4950 S.E. Roethe Road

Cost: $5; seating is limited.

More: Visit clackamasartsalliance.org for information and to purchase tickets.

Contact Kim Menig, Youth Arts for Change project coordinator, at 503-709-1286 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..