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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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OC girls are young, but talented


The Pioneers are short on experience at the varsity level, but overlook them at your own peril

by: JOHN DENNY - Returning players (from left) Alyssa Durr, Jessica Gertz, Cierra Walker and Toria Bradford say they believe Oregon City High Schools girls basketball team will be highly successful this winter, despite inexperience and a lack of size.Oregon City High School has graduated 11 players from last year’s varsity girls basketball team, including all five starters.

But anyone who believes the Pioneers will be pushovers this year may be in for a rude awakening. The Pioneers have reloaded, with a handful of players returning from last year’s varsity, along with some skilled players up from jayvee teams and freshmen teams that went a combined 27-0 last season.

“Since we graduated so many seniors, people are thinking that we’re not going to be very good,” said Oregon City senior Jessica Gertz. “But I think we’re going to do really well. We had a really good summer, and that was a great start towards preparing us for the season.

“When our first game rolls around, I know we’re going to be ready. We’re all excited to be on the court again and, I think that if we continue working hard, like we have been, we’re going to have a really good season.”

“Our goal’s the same as it is every year,” said Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf. “To win the state title.”

The Pioneers have won trophies at Oregon’s big-school state tournament the last 28 years in a row and they’ve won eleven state championships — 1992, 1994-98, 2001-2004 and 2009. They’ve won Three Rivers League titles in 20 of the last 21 seasons.

Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf says he believes his Pioneers could be state title contenders this year, along with South Medford, Westview, St. Mary’s, Clackamas, West Linn and South Salem.

“I think we’ll be in the mix [of teams contending for the state title],” Guelsdorf said. “I think we’ll definitely be top five and, on any given day, I think we can beat anybody.”

“It’s going to be a lot of fun [in league], because every game’s going to matter,” said Oregon City senior Alyssa Durr. “You can’t come in and not be ready to go.... Clackamas is the only team that’s given us a loss [in league] in years and they’ll be tough again. And West Linn is coming on and they’re going to be very competitive. They beat one of our split teams in the summer and that’s going to fuel our redemption.”

Guelsdorf says he’s got four players he considers NCAA Division I prospects in 5-11 senior wing Jessica Gertz, 5-7 sophomore point guard Cierra Walker, 5-10 sophomore post Taylor Shaw and 5-9 freshman point guard N’Dea Flye.

And he says that 5-6 senior point guard Toria Bradford and 5-8 senior wing Alyssa Durr have Division III potential.

Gertz, one of the first players off the bench last year, has already signed with NCAA Division I Long Beach University.

She came unto her own over the summer, averaging 23 points a game for an Oregon City girls basketball summer traveling team that went 33-7, with many of their games against club all-star teams.

“Jessica played behind three Division I kids last year and now that they’ve graduated, she gets her hands on the ball a lot more, and she’s kind of taken over....,” said Guelsdorf. “She can hurt you from the outside, as well as on drives to the basket.”

“Cierra’s only a sophomore and she’s already getting a ton of interest from D-I coaches,” Guelsdorf says of Walker, who saw big minutes on varsity as a freshman. “She’s probably as good as a sophomore as [two-time TRL Player of the Year] Montana Walters was, and maybe even better. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better shooter than Cierra. She may be the best shooter I’ve ever coached.”

“Since first grade, basketball’s always been a part of my life,” said Walker. “I work hard every day to try and be a better basketball player and a better person.”

“Taylor is really athletic,” Guelsdorf said of Shaw. “She can jump out of the gym. She’s going to help us a lot once she gets healthy.”

Shaw, who helped lead Oregon City’s jayvee to a 24-0 record last winter, is battling to overcome a hip-flexor strain, Guelsdorf said.

He said of Flye, “She’s a tremendous athlete. She attacks the basket relentlessly and she is a tremendous offensive rebounder.”

Bradford saw a decent amount of playing time last year, as back-up point guard to Walters; Durr, with two years of varsity experience, also saw her share of playing time last season.

Among others Guelsdorf lists as top prospects for the Pioneers this winter are: junior Lucy Kleiner (5-8 wing); and sophomores Lindsi Peters (5-5 point guard), Jordan Kelly (5-8 wing), Katie Kammerer (5-10 post) and Taylor Knighton (5-9 post).

“Last year we were very dominant inside,” said Guelsdorf. “This year we’re not as big in the paint, but we’re more athletic.... We’re going to be doing what we always do. We’re going to be getting up and down the floor, only doing it a little faster.”

“With four guards, we’re a lot quicker on the floor and our press break,” said Durr.

“The team is totally different,” said Gertz. “We’re not very big, but everyone’s a really good hustler, so we’ll get a lot of hustle points.... We’ve got people diving after loose balls and, if they don’t know what the play is, they’re still going hard and doing what they can to make things happen.”

The Pioneers have over a month to get up to speed for their league opener, a Jan. 17 game at Lakeridge.

They begin play tonight with a jamboree and they entertain Jesuit this Friday.

They travel to Phoenix for a tournament just before Christmas, and they vie in a tournament in Delaware after Christmas.

They’ll find out how they stack up with the state’s best on Jan. 14, when they play Westview on the road.

“A lot of people don’t expect much from us because of our inexperience and lack of size,” said Durr. “But we have a lot of heart and I think that will take us a long ways.”

Bradford issued this warning to Oregon City opponents: “Don’t underestimate us. We work really hard in practice and we’re going to bring our all every time we step of the floor.”

“I’m really excited to see what we can do,” said Gertz.

Gertz said that team rebounding will be pivotal in the amount of success the Pioneers have this season.

“Last year we could always count on [graduates] Jo [Paine] and Catelyn [Preston] to get the rebound,” she said. “This year we need everyone to crash the boards — a team effort on rebounds. And we’re going to have to limit our turnovers.”

“The key for us will be working on the little things,” said Gertz. “Hitting our 3’s, finishing the easier shots, and playing like Oregon City always does, with a lot of heart and intensity.”

“I think we’ll have a good chance this year at state, if we keep working hard and giving 110 percent every day,” said Walker. “I think we can be a really good team.... We just have to work hard and push each other.”

Walker said of her goals for the team: “To win state and go undefeated in league, to become closer as a team, and to become the best team we can possibly be.”

Walker said her goals of going undefeated in league and winning state are “for this year AND the next two years.”