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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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OCHS students tell their stories in 'Word Play 4: School Daze'


“Word Play 4: School Daze,” the upcoming winter play at Oregon City High School, showcases five plays, all revolving around the theme of school. The kicker here is that the plays are all written, directed, performed by and produced by students in Karlyn Love’s Drama 3-4 class.

by: PHOTO BY KARMIN TOMLINSON - In 'The Truth?' Dmitri Dodge, left, may have discovered something about Jenika Flynn and (on floor) Alyson Fazzolari. Every other year, Love’s class takes on a playwriting unit, taught by Connor Kerns, an instructor at Portland Actors Conservatory, and a playwright himself.

“He really inspires the students to write, and every student in the class gets to write, direct and act three different times,” Love said.

Students then go through a rewriting process and submit their plays to the class. The class members then vote and choose their top 10 favorites, and Love picks the top five to be produced.

Student directors

“Detention Debacle,” written by Mykel Illa and directed by Jordan Wallace, 18, “opens at the beginning of detention, with roll being taken in a boring way. There are two normal students, and two very odd people, who don’t know how to dress and who keep licking their school supplies,” Wallace said.

The two normal kids spend the rest of the play trying to figure out what is going on with the other two, and things are not as they seem, he added.

This is his first experience directing, and “it has taught me a lot about responsibility, because I’m doing it all, including costumes and sound effects. I’m extremely goofy, so it has been cool to learn to stay on schedule and develop the creative eye of the director,” Wallace said.

He added that he loves acting, and this has given him a new perspective on what it is like to be an actor. It has been challenging keeping rehearsals on track, but in the end, it has been rewarding to watch his cast come together, Wallace said.

Sam Babst, 18, is both writer and director of “The Truth?” a play in which a third-grader sneaks back into his school at night to discover two of his teachers still in the building.

This is his first directing experience, and he has “learned how hard it is to be a leader for your peers and take on a role above them, especially when you hang out with them,” he said.

“Giving feedback is hard, and it is hard to tell people no, that we have to do what is best for the show,” Babst said.

He added, “I love seeing something I wrote come to life; seeing people being the characters I created.”

In “A Checkmate of the Heart,” written by Blaine Holbert, “a nerdy little socially awkward guy wants to get the courage to ask out his classmate, a girl who is also on the chess team. And then a new character comes in who wants to help, but doesn’t know how,” said director Lizard Jasperson, 18.

What she has found to be most challenging is “not only trying to teach your peers, but being on top of everything. I have learned to take notes and be polite, and I am very proud of my actors and take pride in myself, as well. It is a big responsibility.”

Jasperson added that it has been rewarding to “be able to step into a director’s shoes and show how hard people work at this — how much effort and time it takes.”

Grads lend helping hand

This year Love asked two former students, both 2013 OCHS graduates, to return and direct for “Word Play 4.”

Mackenzie Michael, 19, a student at Clackamas Community College, is directing “The Bee,” written by Matt Devlin.

“The drama department was my life in high school, and I am really thrilled to come back and direct,” she said.

The play is about a high school spelling bee and the three remaining contestants are all a bit quirky. The two boys are nerds and the third contestant, a girl, develops a crush on one of the boys.

Michael directed a play last year, but has learned that when you have more actors in the cast that is a “whole other ballgame.”

“Everyone wants to collaborate, but you can’t please everyone,” she said.

The reward for Michael has come when “I give my actors an idea and they are hesitant. I ask them to try it anyway, and then they get more confident in themselves.”

Joel Anderson, 18, also a student at CCC, came back to direct “3014,” written by Natasha Duvall.

This play follows a teacher and her students in 3014 who take a field trip back to 2014. When they get there, they find out that people are obsessed with their cell phones.

Anderson said he has learned the most from watching Love directing, noting that he could never do what she does every day.

What has been most rewarding for him has been “allowing myself to show all my feedback to my fellow actors and doing what I can to contribute to them.”

Cast members include: Rachel Anderson, Kylie Brevick, Tabitha Damm, Matt Devlin, Dmitri Dodge, Natasha Duvall, Aly Fazzolari, Jenika Flynn, Danell Graziano, Hope Harmon, Blaine Holbert, Mykel Illa, Lindsey Keegan, Jessica Kroonen, Michael McClure, Danny Nelson, Tori Nova, Jordan Richardson, Angelique Smith and Chris Thatcher. Stephanie Brewer and Ryan Skellenger are rehearsal assistants.

This is the fourth year for “Word Play,” Love said, noting that in the past the plays have been a mix of comedy and drama.

“But this year we wanted them to all be comedies,” she said.

‘Word Play 4: School Daze’

n What: OCHS Theatre Arts presents five original short plays, written, directed and acted by Advanced Drama students. The production is recommended for ages 13 and up.

n When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28, and March 1, 6, 7 and 8

n Where: Oregon City High School’s Black Box Theatre, 19761 S. Beavercreek Road.

n Tickets: General admission is $8; there are no discounts or advanced ticket sales. The box office opens at 6:45 p.m.

n More: Call 503-785-8980 or visit ochspioneers.org/academics/drama.