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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 diamond girls are back


They hit the ball and hold their own with some top teams in preseason

by: DAVID BALL - Putnam freshman Sarah Abramson works her windup in the Kingsmens 10-5 win over Beaverton.Rex Putnam softball coach Tiffany Strnad expects her Kingsmen to be much improved over last year and, based on early results, that’s going to be the case.

Playing one of the toughest schedules of any Class 5A team, the Kingsmen have gone 4-2 in their first six preseason games.

They’ve got wins over Class 6A West Linn (12-1), Class 6A Beaverton (10-5), Class 6A Clackamas (7-2) and 2013 Class 5A finalist Hermiston (14-1). Their losses have come at the hands of 2013 Class 6A quarterfinalist Central Catholic (10-1) and Pendleton (10-7), which entered play this week ranked the third-best team in Class 5A.

“Last year was a growing year,” said Strnad. “We were inexperienced, and we really struggled. This year we are off to a good start and we’ve shown a lot of positives. We’re making some plays, we’re talking more. We’re more intense. The girls want to win and they believe they can win. We’re hitting and we’re scoring some runs.”

In their first six games this spring, the Kingsmen scored 51 runs, to 29 runs by their opponents.

A year ago they scored only 88 runs in their entire 24-game season, as they struggled to an overall record of 7-17, going 5-9 and placing fifth in the eight-team Northwest Oregon Conference.

“Except for the Central Catholic game, we’ve hit the ball really well,” Strnad said, noting that her Kingsmen had double figure hits in their games with West Linn, Beaverton, Clackamas and Hermiston.

“Their pitcher was hitting the corners, and we didn’t adjust,” Strnad said of the Central Catholic game.

Putnam batters reached Madisen Vrabel, a first-team all-league pitcher in the Three Rivers League, for 10 hits in their 7-2 win over the Cavaliers.

Strnad said that her Kingsmen have a lot more depth than last year, with competition for starting roles and playing time at several positions.

Putnam’s top returnees from last year are seniors Taylor Balfour and Ashley Culp, junior Kate Betschart and sophomore Brooke Snyder.

A four-year starter, Balfour returns to anchor the infield at shortstop, where she was a first-team all-conference selection a year ago.

Culp returns behind the plate, where she’s seeing her third season of starting action. She was an honorable mention all-conference pick last spring.

Culp went 3-for-4 at the plate, with a three-run home run in the Beaverton game, and she had three RBI in the rout of Hermiston.

Betschart is a third-year starter in centerfield, where she earned first-team all-conference honors a year ago.

Betschart went 3-for-4 at the plate in the games with Hermiston and Clackamas.

Snyder returns at pitcher, where she’s getting pushed by freshman Sarah Abramson. Snyder received honorable mention for her efforts last season.

“They’re both solid,” Strnad said of Snyder and Abramson. “They’ve got similar speeds, but different strengths....”

Snyder this spring has been pitching, and splitting time at first base with junior letterman Hayley Dolfay. Abramson will also see some time at first base, when she’s not pitching.

Snyder went 4-for-4 with her bat in the Beaverton game.

Sophomore Elysia Webb, who started at second base late last year, is battling freshman Justice Duval for the starting nod at second this year.

Veterans senior Lauren Roberts and junior Maggie Waymire will both see action at third base this year. Waymire started at third last year. Roberts did not play last year, after seeing a considerable amount of playing time in the outfield as a sophomore.

Waymire (3-for-4) pounded out three hits in the Hermiston game.

Sophomore Sydney Nichols returns to start in left field. It’ll be either Roberts or sophomore McKenzie Cruz in right field. Cruz was a part-time starter in the outfield as a freshman.

“Sandy’s the favorite [to repeat as Northwest Oregon Conference champion],” said Strnad. “They won state last year, and they’ve got pretty-much everyone back.”

Strnad said of her Kingsmen’s prospects, “We’re still pretty young, but I think we can challenge some teams and I think we’ll surprise some people, especially after what we did last year. People aren’t going to be expecting a lot from us.... I expect us to continue to improve as the season goes along and we gain in confidence. By the end of the season, we could be pretty good.”

The Kingsmen will find out how they stack up with the best in Class 5A in a hurry. They open NWOC play on Tuesday, April 15, playing Sandy on the road.

In upcoming preseason games, Putnam hosts McNary Thursday, Forest Grove on Friday and Lakeridge next Monday.