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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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'Urinetown' takes the plunge onstage


by: SCOTT FRANKLIN - Members of the poor chorus in 'Urinetown' include, left, to right, Chelsea Stores, Emily Derby and James McKinney. “Urinetown,” the musical theater offering from Clackamas High School, is not your usual boy-meets-girl musical. How could it be, with the word urine in the title?

The musical is about a large corporation, Urine Good Company, that controls all the water and requires the poor of the town “to pay to pee,” said director Steve Knox.

Bobby Strong, one of the main characters, starts out working for Public Amenity No. 9, the poorest, filthiest urinal in town, but then he has a defining moment that causes him to lead a revolution, so that the poor no longer have to pay.

That is the plot, in a nutshell, but Knox noted there is so much more going on.

“It is about control, corruption, sustainability and conservation,” he said adding that there is even some self-referential, light-hearted humor about why “Urinetown” is a “horrible name for a musical.”

The biology and environmental science classes and teachers have been supportive of the play, Knox said, and one of the teachers even came up with the idea for the poster.

“It has a picture of a toilet plunger, with the phrase ‘Take the plunge — buy tickets,’ ” he said, noting that the plunger is often used as a symbol for the musical, which was a hit off and on New York’s Broadway from 2001 to 2004.

“Urinetown” is suitable for all ages, Knox added, as long as “parents don’t have a problem with kids hearing the word pee.”

Choosing ‘Urinetown’

Carrie Jo Vincent, CHS drama teacher and the producer of the musical, said everyone knew that the name of the show could be a bit “off putting,” but the plus factors of putting on “Urinetown” far outweighed any concerns about the title.

“We started talking last November about the needs of our kids, and we wanted to put onstage something with as broad a reach across the curriculum as we could manage. ‘Urinetown’ has a lot of issues concerning the sciences and politics and the ethics concerning the role of private companies in commodities like water,” she said.

Although the musical has a “massive impact across the curriculum,” the bottom line is that “Urinetown” is a “great piece of literature, with every comic device you can think of,” Vincent said.

“It has content you have to think deeply about, and there is a lot of learning about theater as protest and theater as social activism. It is a rich experience for the kids and is about deeper issues than pee,” she added.

She has been able to use the question of how you market a show like “Urinetown” as a teachable moment with her drama students, Vincent said, adding that all her students are using social media to build buzz for the musical.

Real-life experience

Two years ago, when Emily Derby went on a church mission trip to a village in Guatemala, she could not possibly have foreseen that her experience would prepare her for a role in “Urinetown.”

Derby, now a CHS junior, and other members of the Eastridge Church in Sunnyside, took hundreds of water filters to Pulay, Guatemala, to provide villagers with clean water.

“There was a problem with malnutrition, sanitation and hygiene, because they have horrible water. We had to teach them how to use the filters, which fit into a bucket, and how to maintain them. Water is so essential; it should be available to everyone and is so vital to life,” Derby said.

While she was in Guatemala, she realized that “we have so much. We can just go into the kitchen to get water. We can flush a toilet; they have to use buckets there. There are so many things we take for granted.”

In the musical, Derby is a member of the poor chorus, a group oppressed by the big corporation that controls access to water and bathroom facilities.

The poor people know they can be arrested for illegally using the toilets, but as “Urinetown” unfolds, the poor realize that the situation is even more dire than they thought, she said.

‘Interesting time

An “aha!” moment onstage occurs when Bobby Strong’s mother doesn’t have enough money to use Public Amenity No. 9, and Mrs. Pennywise, a custodian of the urinal, screams at her that it is the law that she must pay.

“Bobby says, ‘What if the law is wrong?’ and the poor chorus is shocked. We have been bred to believe that the company has the right to charge us, and then we realize that we are not less than other people,” Derby said.

At the end of the first act, the members of the poor chorus are on one side of the stage, and the rich chorus is on the other, and they are marching toward each other, each side screaming that they are right,” she said.

Comparisons to current events and the recent election are inevitable, she said, noting, “It is an interesting time to be doing a show like this — politics are messy.”

Derby added that audiences should come and see “Urinetown,” because “it makes you think. We don’t have to think about how clean our water is; it’s a privilege to live in a place where we don’t have to pay to pee.”

Fast Facts

Clackamas High School presents the satirical musical “Urinetown,” Nov. 15, 16 and 17 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at nclack.k12.or.us/clackhi. For group sales or further info, call the CHS bookkeeper’s office at 503-353-5806 during school hours.

“Urinetown” features music by Mark Hollmann, lyrics by Hollmann and Greg Kotis and book by Kotis.

More than 65 students are in the cast, and adding orchestra, crew and parent volunteers brings the total individual count to more than 150 participating in the production.  

Director Steve Knox and choreographer Michael Snider are joined this year by new music director Jonathan Quesenbery. Thyra Hartshorn returns as scenic and lighting designer, with costume designs by another new creative team member, Berl Dana’y. All are theatrical professionals, noted drama instructor Carrie Jo Vincent, who is producing the event.

The plot of “Urinetown”: Picture a town, anywhere in the United States, suffering through a 20-year drought. The water supply is diminishing. Those that have control of the water tell those that don’t, “You must pay to pee.” The contemporary social issues of corporate control, corruption, environmental conservation and the growing divide between rich and poor are presented with wickedly funny wit.