Featured Stories

INSIDERS (Sponsored Content)

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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

OC native singer leads off concert series


Marti Mendenhall can’t wait to get up onstage July 13 and sing her heart out as the first guest performer in Clackamas Repertory Theatre’s new cabaret series, Sundays at Seven.

by: ERIKA PLUMMER PHOTOGRAPHY - Marti MendenhallHer performance will be something of a homecoming for her — she grew up in Oregon City and sang while she was in high school at OCHS, but has not performed again in the city until now.

Theme has personal meaning

The concert’s theme is “Never Too Late,” and speaks to her in many ways.

“It resonates with me very much. There is a message that you can start later in life and still find success and your passion,” she said.

“I wrote the song ‘Never Too Late’ for a couple in their late 70s. In fact, I woke up singing this song — it’s never too late to find love,” Mendenhall said.

“This is also the perfect theme for me because after college I stopped singing for about 17 to 18 years and took a different path. Then I realized I was denying that part of myself that could reach people in a positive way,” she said.

“I love being onstage so much, thinking I’m making a difference. When I step onstage, I hope I’m changing someone’s day or week, touching them in a profound way,” she said.

Mendenhall continued to sing with Oregon Repertory Singers and in her church choir, but now has ventured out on her own with backup singers and musicians.

“I am so grateful I have a second chance to sing. My message is go after that dream, find that one thing that might be your calling.”

Now’s the time

The concert’s theme also meshes with her belief that it’s important to “seize the moment to say what you have to say to the people you love, and express your gratitude,” Mendenhall said.

Her current favorite song, “Words Last,” was written for a friend of hers and a supporter of the arts who recently died from a rare cancer.

“I wrote it for her and her family. It says to say what you have to say now, and live in the moment. Life is short; it’s really important to say ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you’ while you can.”

It also is “never too late to develop into whatever you want and become who you are,” she said, noting she has found herself through music.

Concert has wide appeal

David Smith-English, the artistic director of Clackamas Repertory Theatre, said he heard Mendenhall perform at Jimmy Mak’s in Portland and asked her to lead off the new cabaret-style series.

“I was impressed with her singing, her style, her band, which is great, and how she connects with her audience. I appreciated that she sings a lot of standards which will, I think, please our audience,” he said.

Her shows have wide appeal, Mendenhall said, describing her style of singing as a mix of jazz and pop.

“My style comes from experience, from mentors, from love, laughter, heartbreak and uncertainty. These have helped me settle into myself and become who I am; I lead by example. You can change your life.”

What she is most looking forward to from Sundays at Seven is the opportunity to help CRT expand its audience base.

“This is an outstanding theater company, and I am happy to help people discover it,” she said.

What does she love best about performing?

“Each show is unique and exciting. It’s almost like having a dialogue with the audience. I teach them a song, and they leave feeling happy, touched and entertained,” Mendenhall said.

She added, “I reach for their hands and say, ‘Come along with me for the ride.’ When I step onstage, everything flows through me. I just can’t wait to get up there and sing and see what will happen.”

Sundays at Seven

What: Clackamas Repertory Theatre’s three-show, cabaret series

When: The first show is at 7 p.m. on July 13, featuring Marti Mendenhall, a nationally known jazz artist. Visit martimendenhall.com for more info about her upcoming performances.

Where: Osterman Theatre at Clackamas Community College, 19600 S. Molalla Ave., Oregon City.

Cost: $15 each or all three shows for $40; purchase online at Clackamasrep.org or by calling 503-594-6047.

Next up: The second concert, on Aug. 17, will feature Merideth Kaye Clark, star of last year’s CRT production of “Kiss Me Kate,” whose cabaret performance in 2013 served as the inspiration for the series.

The final performance will take place Sept. 28, when musical theater singer/dancer Don Kenneth Mason takes to the stage. More info at clackamasrep.org.