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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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CCC captures Depression-era Brooklyn


“Brighton Beach Memoirs” director James Eikrem has coached his seven-member cast on the use of Brooklyn accents in the play, which adds an authentic flavor to the show.

by: PHOTO BY JENNIFER WHITTEN - Branden McFarland, as Eugene, shares a moment with his mother, played by Hailey Houser, in 'Brighton Beach Memoirs.'That’s not the only auditory delight awaiting audiences at Clackamas Community College’s final play of the season. CCC’s vocal jazz group, Mainstream, will sing on opening night Thursday, May 22, to enhance the mood for the Neil Simon play set in 1937, during the Depression.

“This play is the one that started Neil Simon down the road of being recognized for more than just situation comedies,” Eikrem said.

As theater instructor and artistic director at CCC, Eikrem chose the play because it appeals on many different levels, and students can relate to its themes that includef coming of age, sibling rivalry, and a family overcoming challenges.

The play is set in Brighton Beach, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and is considered to be semi-autobiographical.

“The play is framed by Eugene. It is told from the point of view of his memories,” Eikrem said.

Eugene, who is almost 15, lives in a blended household with his mother, father, brother, his mother’s sister and her two teenage daughters.

“The play deals with health issues and growing up in a time of economic hardship. There are some frank discussions about the attractions of females by the two young men that broke new ground in 1983,” Eikrem said, adding that this is a play with adult themes and some adult language.

He likes the play partly for its scenes featuring the relationship between the two brothers, but also because it features a family dealing with life and economic difficulties, that is “reflective of what we are looking at right now.”

It is important to Eikrem that the cast projects “a real sense of ongoing family life.”

Staging the dinner scene, where the entire cast sits down and eats a meal while keeping the dialogue going, has been a challenge, Eikrem said, but the most enjoyable part of the process has been his cast.

“They are willing to say ‘yes’ to me, and we understand each other well,” he said, adding that he looks for plays that are stimulating educationally and still fun to do.

Set and costumes

Another challenge for the actors has been working on a big, open set with plenty of activity going on simultaneously onstage, Eikrem said.

In fact, the set is so important to the play, that Eikrem noted it is almost as much a character as the actors themselves.

Although this is not the biggest set he has ever designed, Chris Witten, the theater department’s technical director and resident designer, said it has “one of the largest scenic footprints” he has ever created.

“This play is a memory, and just like our memories, we only remember the important things. This set mimics that. The things Eugene doesn’t remember about his house are not there,” Whitten said.

“There is specific detail in his memory, including an upstairs and a downstairs, and we chose to focus on the pieces he remembers,” Whitten said.

Costume designer Alva Bradford and her crew have relished the challenge of putting together men’s and women’s clothing from 1937. They’ve used some vintage patterns and modern, but vintage-inspired fabric to create the authentic look that Eikrem wanted.

Audiences will respond well to the humor in “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and the re-creation of the time period. They also will relate to the story of people “facing adversity and rising above it,” Eikrem said.

“Neil Simon has done a nice job of pointing out relationships, and he does it in a way that you can enjoy — we are rooting for all these characters.”

As for why Simon’s plays are so popular, Eikrem said it is partly due to the fact that Simon has a reputation for being successful on Broadway and also because they have stood the test of time so well.

He added, “People know his name, audiences relate to his plays, and they continue to be funny. Also, he writes really good characterizations and is good at setting up comedic situations.”

Fast facts

What: Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs”

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays, through June 1. Before each matinee, history professor Jackie Flowers will give a brief talk to set the historical context of the play.

CCC’s vocal jazz group Mainstream will perform songs from the 1930s just before the play opens May 22.

Where: Osterman Theatre, Niemeyer Center, Clackamas Community College, 19600 S. Molalla Ave., Oregon City

Tickets: $10 adults, $8 students and seniors (62+); buy tickets online at TheatreCCC.org or call Kelly at 503-594-3153. Pay what you can performance at 10 a.m. Friday, May 30.

Details: Directed by James Eikrem, set design by Chris Whitten, and costumes by Alva Bradford.

Cast members include: Randi Bolt, as Nora; Beth Dodge, as Laurie; Jayme Hall, as Stanley; Aaron Hodel, as Jack; Hailey Houser, as Kate; Branden McFarland, as Eugene; and Jennifer Whitten, as Blanche.