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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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La Salle boys, girls advance


La Salle boys rally past Newport, while La Salle girls hold off Cascade

by: JON HOUSE - HOW SWEET IT IS! - La Salle Prep boys basketball players celebrate following Saturday nights win over the Newport Cubs. The Falcons have had a surprisingly successful season this winter, after graduating most of the players who played on last years team that placed third at the 2013 Class 4A State Championship Tournament.After struggling to find the basket in the first half, the second-ranked La Salle Falcons on Saturday upped their aggressiveness at both ends of the floor after the halftime break and rallied to a 50-37 win over the upset-minded Newport Cubs, in a Class 4A boys basketball “sweet 16” playoff game at La Salle.

The 19th-ranked Cubs showed up ready to play and, while the Falcons fired up blanks over Newport’s zone defense, the Cubs surged to a 12-2 first quarter advantage.

The heavily favored Falcons trailed until a minute into the third quarter, when Keeston Smith turned a rebound into a three-point play, with a layup and free throw. His free throw made it 19-17 La Salle.

Reece Wible got a steal on the Cubs’ next position and his outlet pass led to a fast-break basket by Luke Kolln. And the Falcons began to take control, leading 21-17.

Wible got three more steals before the third quarter was out. And by the time the quarter was over, the Falcons found themselves up 35-27, and they had the game in hand. Seven different La Salle players scored in the third period, as the entire Falcon team appeared to awaken from a slumber.

Except for lukewarm free throw shooting in the fourth quarter [9-for-17], the Falcons would have won the game by an even widen margin.

While La Salle was an ice-cold 5-of-25 (20 percent) from the field in the first half, the Falcons went 10-for-20 from the field after the break.

“Every team goes through a shooting slump,” said La Salle senior point guard Luke Kolln. “We have good shooters. We have a lot of players who are really good shooters.... We knew it was just a matter of time before our shots started to drop.”

“We were more selective [in the second half],” said La Salle junior Keeston Smith. “We were more focussed and we worked the ball around to get the best shot.”

Newport was 4-of-9 from the field in the first quarter, but only 11-of-30 from the field in the final three periods.

“I think the 11 days between games affected us in the first quarter on offense....,” said La Salle coach Jared Curtiss. “Our depth and speed in the third quarter was the main reason we won. We knew our guards had to get to the paint and we had to get our bigs the ball, where we shot the ball well; and we needed to crash the boards hard to get putbacks....

“The Cubs only play seven kids and [by the end of the game], they were very, very tired.”

Wible had a huge game all-around, scoring a team-high 15 points, claiming five rebounds and stealing the sphere seven times. Wible played a pivotal role in keeping the Falcons in the game in the first half, scoring all four of their field goals — three of them 3-pointers — in the second period.

Smith (14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocked shots) did most of his scoring in the second half.

Kolln (11 points, 3 assists) also scored in double figures for the Falcons.

Brendan Thurber-Blaser, a 6-1 sophomore, scored 16 points; and 6-2 senior Luke Richcreek added 11 points to lead the Cubs.

For the game, the Falcons had eight turnovers, compared with 19 by their guests.

The win advanced La Salle to the Class 4A State Tournament for the second year in a row. A year ago a senior-dominated Falcon ball club beat Philomath 45-37 in the third-place final, after losing to North Valley 50-45 in the championship semifinals. Smith is the only returning starter from that team.

Smith explained the Falcons’ success this year, despite the loss of nine seniors — including four starters — to graduation: “We’ve got great team chemistry, we’re unselfish, and we work hard season-after-season.”

Comparing this year’s team to last year’s, he said, “Last year’s team had more talent, but this year’s team has better chemistry, and we work just as hard.”

“This means a lot,” said Kolln. “Especially after losing nine seniors. And, with this being my senior year, for me to have an impact on us getting right back to Gill, it means a lot.”

“Everyone doubted us, and it was that doubt that drove us,” Smith said.

“We felt like every day, we were the underdogs, and that made us work harder,” said Kolln.

Kolln added, “After we lost a close game with Valley Catholic, the top team in 3A, I knew we had a chance to be good.”

La Salle (20-3) meets 11th-ranked Cottage Grove (19-5) Thursday at 8:15 p.m. in its state tournament opener. The tournament runs through Saturday at Oregon State University’s Gill Coliseum.

The Falcons’ only losses this season have come at the hands of Valley Catholic, the top-ranked team in Class 3A; cross-town rival Gladstone; and Philomath, the top-ranked team in Class 4A.

Philomath beat Cottage Grove 60-55 on Dec. 20, and the Warriors topped La Salle 45-32 on Jan. 4.

17 in a row,

and counting

While La Salle boys were getting it done in the Class 4A state boys playoffs, La Salle girls last weekend got it done in the Class 4A girls playoffs, advancing to the Class 4A Girls State Tournament with a 38-32 Friday night win over Cascade.

But the win was no cakewalk for the Falcon girls. The visiting Cougars took the air out of the ball, forcing a slow-down game, and the Cougars stayed within striking distance until the final horn.

It was a three-point game, with La Salle up 33-30, early in the fourth quarter, when Sterling Swift hit a 3-pointer and Morgan McSmith hit an outside shot to widen the gap to eight points. The Falcons then turned to a delay game of their own and hung on for the 38-32 win.

Defense was pivotal for the Falcons, who forced 19 turnovers, despite the slow pace of play.

Swift scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting to lead a balanced Falcon offensive attack. Aleah Goodman had three steals and three assists.

The win was sweet indeed for the Falcons, because it avenged losses to the Cougars in last year’s state quarterfinals and in the 2011 state final.

Swift, who was on both of those teams, says she likes her charges’ chances because this year’s team is much more balanced and deeper than the Falcon team that made the state final in 2011.

Ranked second in the state, La Salle girls (23-1) enter this year’s state tournament riding a 17-game win string. They meet La Grande tonight at 8:15 p.m. in the quarterfinals. The tournament runs through Saturday at Gill Coliseum, with the championship final set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m.