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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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Madcap farce for Hitchcock fans


Of one thing David Smith-English is certain — “The 39 Steps” is “like nothing else I’ve ever done, for its swiftness, its complexity and its style.”

by: PHOTO BY SAM LEVI - All eyes are on Jayson Shanafelt, left, as Richard Hannay. Also pictured are Jayne Stevens, James Sharinghousen and Travis Nodurft.    Smith-English, the artistic director of Clackamas Repertory Theatre, is the director of the play, opening on Sept. 19, in the Niemeyer Center at Clackamas Community College.

Smith-English said “The 39 Steps” was adapted by Patrick Barlow from John Buchan’s novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film of the same name.

“This play version was written in 1997, and since then has been performed all over the globe. It is amazing how popular it is. The movie was a thriller and a mystery, but the play is a flat-out farce,” he said.

Because the script is open-ended, the author encourages theater groups to brainstorm ideas and use them, Smith-English said, noting that this play is the most collaborative piece he’s ever done.

“Everyone is bringing ideas to the table, and it is so much fun. When somebody comes up with an idea, then boom, we stick it in,” he said, noting that there are references to classic Hitchcock movies like “Rear Window” and “North by Northwest.”

The plot revolves around one character, Richard Hannay, who is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game of espionage. In the course of the play, Hannay encounters nearly 150 other characters, all played by one woman and two other men.

There are “lightning-fast costume changes” and only a few set pieces, like trunks and chairs, which must do double duty as trains and tunnels.

Orrie Weeks and Annie Rimmer will create rear projections to help the audience adapt to set changes, “giving us a sense of place,” Smith-English said.

He added, “It is going to be a fast-paced romp, but with a certain sophistication about it.”

One man, three women

Hannay is “a man who is going through a rough patch in his life. He goes to a show to snap out of it, and a series of events occur that will change his life, for better or worse,” said Jayson Shanafelt, who plays the role.

He refused to reveal the significance of the title of the play, noting that “the whole show is about what the 39 steps are.”

His favorite scene in the piece is when he has a fight with Pamela Edwards, played by Jayne Stevens.

“Hannay has been accused of murder, and I am trying to convince her I am telling the truth. She finally comes around,” Shanafelt said.

In addition to Pamela, Stevens plays Annabella Schmidt, a German spy, and Margaret, a Scottish farmer’s wife. All three are love interests for Hannay.

The most challenging part for Stevens has been “making the three women different from each other.” She worked with a dialect coach to differentiate the three separate accents for her characters.

What will audiences like best about “The 39 Steps”?

“The fluidity of the characters and how they change. The audience will get to see the mechanics of theater as the actors perform their parts. That will be fun to watch, and you only see that in live theater,” Stevens said.

Two clowns

Remaining characters in “The 39 Steps,” and there are dozens of them, will be played by Travis Nodurft, as Clown 1, and James Sharinghousen, as Clown 2.

Nodurft went to clown school, joined the circus and traveled for a year with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey. This training will allow him to bring in some classical clown bits to capitalize on the humor in the play.

“When I watch the rehearsal process, I am looking for places to use some of these bits. The play is loaded with opportunities for small, funny little moments,” he said.

It has been a challenge to make every character different, and the physicality of the zany antics that he and Sharinghousen get up to has been fun, but takes a lot of work, Nodurft said.

Audiences will love the “wild ride” of “The 39 Steps,” he said, adding, “They will not see another show like this one, with some clown bits and some seriousness.”

Usually an actor gets to focus on one character, but when you have to play dozens, you have to figure out one aspect of that character and magnify it, Sharinghousen said.

He modeled one of his characters, Mrs. Higgins, after Julia Child, noting that it helps to pull from well-known personalities.

A challenge for him has been to “keep it fresh and entertaining. It is how I make somebody feel that is the real treat for me.”

Watch your step

What: Clackamas Repertory Theatre presents “The 39 Steps,” directed by David Smith-English

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 19 through Oct. 6

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

Tickets: Tickets may be purchased at www.clackamasrep.org or by calling 503-594-6047.

Details: Pre-show “Hitchcock Talk” lectures with Ernie Casciato take place an hour before performances every Saturday and two Sundays, Sept. 29 and Oct. 6.