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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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Generations struggle in play's changing world


“Entanglement,” the second play in New Century Players’ current season, racks up several firsts: it is the first time the group has put on a play by a local author; it is the first time NCP has been part of Portland’s Fertile Ground Festival; and it is the first time director Colin Murray has worked with the group.

by: PHOTO BY DICK TRTEK - The cast of Entanglement includes, front row, left to right, Julianne Nelson, Arlene Daugherty, Allie Andresen and Zac Burgess. Back row: Kelley Marchant, Jeff Gorham and Marc Hakim.The play opens in Rex Putnam High School’s Blackbox Theatre on Jan. 24, and continues through Feb. 2.

“Entanglement” was written by Kevin Yell, the co-owner of the Ainsworth House and Gardens, a renovated historic property on Lot Whitcomb Drive in Oregon City that hosts weddings, dinners and other occasions.

The play came out of a writing project he set himself to do, featuring “inter-generational casts dealing with life changes and communication.”

In “Entanglement,” all the characters “are facing transitions due to the natural process of age, such as high school or retirement, or their world being changed by forces outside of their control. Yet none of these people are isolated, hence the title; they are entangled with one another, and the choices they make to deal with what’s going on impact each other,” Yell said.

“Even though change is not just in the air but in our DNA, for most people it’s the least welcome of the natural consequence of being alive, especially when it happens around matters of sexuality, fidelity and love.”

The play revolves around the archetypal perfect American family: mother, father and two children, but because the family must wrestle with some serious adult issues, such as sexual identity, it is most suitable for high school students and above, noted Kelley Marchant, who plays the role of Tammy, the mother, in “Entanglement.”

She is the drama teacher at RPHS, as well as the artistic director and one of the founders of New Century Players; Yell is a board member and has directed a number of plays for the group.

“Tammy is a no-nonsense, contemporary working mother, whose family is a priority. She feels like she is living her dream; she has been married to Paul for 20 years and has two great kids,” Marchant said.

Marchant has been working with Yell for two years, workshopping “Entanglement,” and identifies with Tammy so much, she feels like he wrote the character just for her.

“She prides herself on having it all,” Marchant said, adding that the most challenging thing about the role has been juggling her own personal and work schedule during the rehearsal period.

Fertile Ground Festival

The NCP board members have been interested in Portland’s Fertile Ground Festival for several years, but have never been involved until this year.

“It was time to step forward,” Marchant said.

“Having been in existence for several years, the Fertile Ground Festival is one of the most popular and exciting New Works Festivals west of the Rockies. Individual writers and companies in all the performance categories, including theater, dance, storytelling and performance art, can produce their own work in any venue they can find, along the lines of the renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland,” Yell said.

The FGF then produces a “magnificent program, plus coordinates advertising and other great support to pull it all together, which is a task most small companies and individual writers or creators cannot afford to do for themselves for a short run, often only one performance,” he noted.

The festival has become so well known that it now draws in audiences from as far away as Seattle, Boise, San Francisco and beyond, Yell said, adding that a semi-staged production of “Entanglement” will also be produced at The Body Vox Studio in Portland for one night only, on Jan. 30.

Colin Murray

Although Yell has many years of experience as a director, he chose not to direct this production of his play, because he felt that an outside director would bring some objectivity to the process.

Murray, who is the technical director for Reed College’s theater department, “has been a delight to work with, and he very kindly included me in the casting process. He happens to be really good too, so I am learning from him as we go,” Yell said.

This marks the first time Murray has directed for NCP, although he said he has been working in theater as an actor and in the technical field his whole adult life; he recently acquired his master’s degree in directing from the University of Portland.

And he is familiar with New Century, he said, noting that his wife, Jessica Middleton Murray, was in “God of Carnage,” last year’s spring production for the group, along with Kelley Marchant.

“Kevin directed that play, so he and I started talking about ‘Entanglement,’ and through various connections it became more focused on me directing it,” Murray said.

Why direct a play by a local playwright?

“I am interested in new works, and developing new voices. During the rehearsal and performance process I am trying to make sure the voice of the author is heard and coming across to the audience,” he said.

“And Kevin is very confident as a playwright; my goal is to take the story he is trying to tell and give it life.”

Murray’s favorite moment takes place toward the end of the play, when “the walls have come down and the family is speaking truthfully and honestly,” and it is evident that they care deeply about each other. He hopes audiences like the family, the relationships and the struggles the family is going through.

“There are a lot of enjoyable moments. They will watch the family go through hard times, and I hope audiences will leave the show with a sense of empathy and understanding of the family,” Murray said.

“The cast is fantastic; I am lucky to have this group that is so committed and fun to work with. We have one high school student and one not long out of high school and the rest are adult actors. It is neat to have experienced actors working alongside those with less experience, but just as much heart,” he added.

Support from NCP

Yell is grateful for the support of Marchant and the NCP Board, he said.

“In the world of theater, getting a first, full production of a new play is amazing; most writers never even get that far, so I feel I’ve done remarkably well, thanks to being given this gift by NCP, and I cannot stress too much how valiant NCP has been to take on the risk of mounting a new work,” Yell said.

People buy theater tickets for shows, stars and writers they know, and full productions of new works by local authors are rare, he said.

“It’s a learning process,” he said.

“New Century broke some new ground last year, with ‘God of Carnage,’ and as a community theater group, we don’t fall into any category; we try to mix it up, and we know our audiences are looking for a quality production,” Marchant said.

Yell added, “When you look at the shows NCP has done in the past nine years, you’ll see a breadth and flexibility that’s remarkably uncommon, from Agatha Christie to the ‘Laramie Project.’ Mounting a new work by a local author in this 10th anniversary season is a great way for NCP to show its commitment to the local community and the future of live theater in Clackamas County.”

Hot ticket!

What: New Century Players presents “Entanglement,” by local playwright Kevin Yell

When: Jan. 24, 25 and 31 and Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 26 and Feb. 2, at 2 p.m.

Where: Rex Putnam Blackbox Theatre, 4950 S.E. Roethe Road, Milwaukie.

Tickets: General admission $18; students/seniors $12. They are available online at NewCenturyPlayers.org or by calling 503-367-2620.

Fertile Ground Festival: Find out more about FGF at fertilegroundpdx.org.

Cast: The cast of “Entanglement includes: Allie Andresen, Zac Burgess, Arlene Daugherty, Jeff Gorham, Marc Hakim, Kelley Marchant and Julianne Nelson. The production is directed by Colin Murray.