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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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Putnam youthful Junior Americans excel in postseason

Youth was no handicap for Rex Putnam’s Junior American baseball team this summer.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - There was no 11- and 12-year-old Junior American baseball team better than Putnam in 2013. The Kingsmen proved that to be the case July 12-14, when they won first place at the county championship tournament. Pictured with their championship hardware are: (first row, from left) K.J. Ruffo, Perry Collman, Nick Geertsen, John Foglio and Oscar Quick; (second row) Gavin Lund, John Irish, Korbyn Amundson, Rob Collman, Derek Douangphrachanh and Hayden Wilson; and (back) coach Mark Collman, coach Bruce Wilson, Dakota Reber, coach Jason Reber and head coach Mike Geertsen.The Kingsmen sported one of the younger Junior American teams in the state, but they still finished as state runners-up, after winning first place in Clackamas County.

Only three players on the team will have to move up to the Senior Division for 13- and 14-year-olds next summer. Nine are expected to return to play at the 11- and 12-year-old Junior level.

Still, Putnam coach Mike Geertsen insists he is not at all surprised with this summer’s success.

“I felt going in [to the state tournament] we had a real good shot [at playing for the state championship],” Geertsen said. “Our overall fundamentals were sound. Our pitching and defense were solid. We didn’t make a lot of errors, our pitchers didn’t walk a lot of people, we hit the ball and we were aggressive on the bases.

“And it didn’t hurt that we had two really outstanding catchers in K.J. Ruffo and Hayden Wilson. People didn’t steal on us. They threw a lot of guys out and they did a good job keeping guys on first base.”

The state runner-up finish was no accident. The athletes on Geertsen’s team played together in fall ball last fall. They took a short break the first of November, and many of the players were back at it, practicing one night a week the week before Thanksgiving.

The Kingsmen went 3-2 at the double elimination Junior American State Championship Tournament, their only losses both to a Banks team, which sported a lineup dominated by 12-year-olds. It was a Banks team that went undefeated through the entire summer.

“They were beating people with scores like 20-0 in their league and there was talk of moving them up to Junior Federal, but it didn’t happen,” Geertsen said of the Banks Braves. “They were an older team. It’s my understanding their entire team will have to move up to play Senior ball next year.”

Still the Kingsmen gave the Braves perhaps their toughest game of the season, losing a 9-8 barnburner in their final game of the state tournament.

“We had a guy on base and the winning run at the plate when the game ended,” Geertsen said.

The Kingsmen outhit the Braves 9-8 in the final, and they played error-free defense. But it took them awhile to get going. They trailed 9-0 heading into the last inning, when they rattled their bats for seven hits and scored all eight of their runs.

“We had runners on base in five of the six innings,” Geertsen said. “But we were hitting the ball right at people, and couldn’t get them around.”

Led by Gavin Lund (2-for-3) eight different Putnam players made contact for hits in the final with Banks. Lund, Derek Douangphrachanh, Rob Collman, Oscar Quick, John Foglio, Dakota Reber and Hayden Wilson all connected for hits in sixth-inning, eight-run rally. Wilson had a three-run triple in the big inning and Foglio belted a run-scoring double.

The Kingsmen had another close game in their state-tournament opener, a 4-3 win over Washougal, Wash.

Wilson played a huge role in that win, striking out 12, walking four and yielding only four hits and two earned runs in a complete-game victory.

Wilson also starred at the plate, going 2-for-2 and scoring the game’s first run in the bottom of the first inning. Wilson singled, stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on a base hit by Reber.

The Kingsmen stretched their advantage to 4-0 in the second frame, scoring three times on a base hit by K.J. Ruffo, a walk, an error, stolen bases, and a two-run single by Douangphrachanh (2-for-2).

The Kingsmen had eight hits and committed just one error in the hard-fought win.

Estacada Rangers bite the bullet

Next up was Estacada, a team that Putnam had finished back of in county league play. The Kingsmen were all business, and they dispatched with their rivals, 8-1.

They put Estacada away in the fourth frame, stretching a 3-0 advantage to 8-0. Reber had a pivotal two-run single in the big inning; Perry Collman (2-for-3) also had a big hit, a run-scoring single.

Reber was sharp in five innings on the mound, striking out seven and walking two in a two-hitter. Nick Geertsen made it three-up and thee-down in an inning of relief.

The Kingsmen had their hands full in their next game, a 9-1 winner’s bracket loss to Banks.

“We only struck out three times, but everything we hit was right at them,” coach Geertsen said.

Rob Collman and Wilson both had two hits apiece to lead a six-hit Kingsmen offensive attack.

The Kingsmen earned their second shot at Banks through an 11-5 loser’s bracket win over South Salem. Leading 4-3, Putnam put the game away in the bottom of the fifth, scoring seven runs on five hits, a walk, a fielder’s choice and an error.

John Irish, Rob Collman, Foglio, Geertsen and Reber all hit safely in the big inning.

Putnam finished the year with an overall record of 40-9.

Success is not new to Geertsen’s ball club. They competed in the Midget American Division for 9- and 10-year-olds last summer and placed fourth at state, after winning the county Midget American championship.

County champions

Seeded fourth, Putnam went 4-0 at this year’s county tournament, advancing to the final with wins over No. 5 Milwaukie (12-2 in four innings), No. 1 Redland (5-4) and No. 3 Estacada (8-3), and then defeating Estacada 4-3 in the final.

They had gone 12-4 in Clackamas County league play, finishing back of Redland (14-2), North Marion (14-2) and Estacada (14-2).

Players on the team included: K.J. Ruffo (catcher/outfield), Hayden Wilson (catcher/pitcher), Perry Collman (second base), Nick Geertsen (shortstop/pitcher), John Foglio (third base/shortstop), Oscar Quick (outfield), Gavin Lund (first base), John Irish (outfield), Korbyn Amundson (outfield/third base), Rob Collman (outfield/pitching), Derek Douangphrachanh (outfield) and Dakota Reber (pitcher/outfield).

The county championship final with Estacada was a defensive gem. The Kingsmen pulled out the 4-3 victory despite getting outhit 8-3.

“We had some very good defense,” coach Geertsen said. “They had the bases loaded in the second inning and (shortstop) Nick Geertsen threw a guy out at home.... Also, in the fifth inning, Nick threw a guy out at home with the bases loaded; and our pitcher, Dakota Reber, threw a guy out at home with the bases loaded.”

Offensive hero honors went to Irish, who drove in what would prove the winning run in the bottom of the fifth. Douangphrachanh drew a base on balls to lead off the inning, stole around to third, and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Irish.

Lund was also huge on offense in the championship game, going 2-for-2 and driving in runs with a two-run single in the first inning and a one-run single in the fourth.

Reber was money on the mound in the sixth and final frame. After giving up a run to the leadoff runner, he retired Estacada’s two, three and four batters through strikeouts.

Wilson (8 strikeouts, one walk, 4 hits) pitched the first four innings. Reber (4 strikeouts, no walks, 4 hits) finished up.

Seven different Putnam ball players made contact for hits in the 8-3 win over Estacada. Foglio had two hits; Amundson belted a double.

Geertsen (7 strikeouts, 2 walks, 5 hits) pitched the first four innings; Reber (2 strikeouts, one walk, 3 hits) pitched the last two.

The 5-4 win over top-seeded Redland was a real barnburner. Putnam went up 5-1, scoring two runs in the top of the sixth. Redland got three runs back in the bottom of the sixth before Amundson closed the door, flagging down a fly ball in right field to end the inning.

Geertsen smacked a two-run single in the top of the sixth.

Wilson pitched a complete game, striking out 12 and walking three, while allowing just two hits. The Kingsmen played error-free defense behind Wilson.

The Kingsmen had little difficulty in their 12-2 win over Milwaukie, a game that was stopped after just four innings through the 10-run rule.

Reber starred, going 2-for-2 with a two-run home run, scoring two runs, and taking care of business on the mound.

Wilson smacked a double; Geertsen scored twice.

The win advanced the Kingsmen to the 12-team Junior American State Tournament, which was contested July 18-21 at Portland’s Erv Lind Stadium.

The Kingsmen were a hitting machine at the county and state tournaments, with five players hitting over .300 for the two tournaments — Reber (.529, 9-for-17), Wilson (.421, 8-for-19), Geertsen (.411, 7-for-17), Foglio (.320, 8-for-25) and Douangphrachanh (.312, 5-for-16).