Sunday, July 15, 2007






  County switches to biodiesel
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–The backhoe’s motor fires up, but instead of diesel fumes, the smell of – is that french fries? – fills the air.
Henderson County’s commissioners are the latest to try biodiesel fuel in both their trucks and heavy equipment.
“I’ve had some for about 10 days or so (since July 3),” Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence said Wednesday.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Henderson County Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence holds a jar containing biodiesel fuel now used in the precinct’s trucks and heavy equipment. Biodiesel is both cheaper and emits fewer emissions than regular petroleum diesel fuel.

“It smells a little different burning in there,” he added. “Like frying fish.”
Beckat Oil & Fuel in Tyler provides biodiesel to Henderson County and others as the only supplier in East Texas.
Owner Robert Eckeberger said he was looking for a business advantage when he invested in a plant to make biodiesel fuel from peanut oil just over two months ago.
“In this line of business, all the fuel distributors do the same thing. You’ve got to do something different to get ahead of the competition,” Eckeberger said. “So far, it’s been a good idea.”
When Rudoph Diesel developed his new engine in 1892, he intended for it to be able to use a variety of different fuels, including coal dust, and replace the steam engine as the primary power source for industry.
Diesel patented his engine Feb. 23, 1893, and demonstrated it at the 1900 Exposition Universelle using peanut oil as fuel.
Diesel engines can run on almost any fuel, including straight vegetable oil, although vegetable oil cannot meet biodiesel fuel specifications, is not registered with the EPA and is not a legal motor fuel.
Biodiesel can be produced from any fat or oil, such as soybean or peanut oil, or even used cooking grease from a restaurant. It is refined through a process called transesterification, which uses alcohol to remove glycerin, a by-product of biodiesel production.
Lawrence said his crew members haven’t mentioned any problems at all with the new fuel, which is both cheaper and has lower emissions than regular diesel.
Lawrence said he paid $2.49/gallon for his initial 1,000-gallon delivery.
“He (Eckeberger) told me that was about a nickel or six cents cheaper (than regular diesel), and this week, diesel went up a nickel, so it may be 10 or 11 cents (a gallon) cheaper,” Lawrence said. “This is supposed to not fluctuate (in price) as much.”
A U.S. Department of Energy study showed biodiesel carbon dioxide emissions were 78.5 percent lower than regular petroleum diesel emissions.
What’s even better, biodiesel will work in existing diesel engines without having to make major modifications.
Lawrence didn’t make any engine modifications, and he noted his drivers made three trips to Wills Point earlier in the week.
“I assure you, if it didn’t pull like it was supposed to, those drivers would have been in here crying and complaining,” Lawrence said.
Eckeberger said he shipped an initial load of biodiesel to Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney Wednesday morning.
Lawrence said he anticipated McKinney would want to try biodiesel.
“He’s stayed right on top of emissions and the Clean Air Act,” Lawrence pointed out.
The response to biodiesel availability has been “overwhelming,” Eckeberger said.
“I’ve had a lot of folks calling to get it,” he said. His first shipment sold out quickly.
“I’m now selling 8,000 gallons a week, and all on word-of-mouth,” Eckeberger said.
As an Athens native and Henderson County resident, Eckeberger said he wanted to get the county on board first.
Eckeberger now sells biodiesel to waste haulers, a couple of fleet companies, a wrecker service or two, and also uses it in his own delivery trucks.
“I will add the city of Tyler next,” Eckeberger said, adding he also will offer biodiesel to area school districts.
Government agencies at all levels have been prodded to use alternative fuels for many years, and home-grown (literally) materials are used to manufacture biodiesel, he noted.
“We’re helping the farmers and we’re helping the environment, so it’s a good deal for everybody,” Eckeberger added.
For more information about biodiesel, contact Eckeberger at (903) 596-7707.

Humane Society eyes closing Tool shelter
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake directors are considering closing the organization’s shelter in Tool.
Acting board president Tamara Rhodes announced Thursday the Humane Society board will hold an open meeting at 5 p.m. Monday, July 16, at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points to discuss closing the shelter.
The Tool shelter currently serves all of Kaufman County and its cities, as well as Cedar Creek Lake cities in Henderson County.
Rhodes said the board now sees three basic options:
• keep the facility open and operating as it currently does.
“To keep the doors open for this option, we will need support, both monetary and physical,” Rhodes said.
• close the facility.
All municipalities will be notified of the closure within 90 days, Rhodes said.
• try to work a funding arrangement out with Kaufman County and local municipalities, and accept animals only until a new shelter facility can be built.
Henderson County animals would no longer be accepted under this option, Rhodes said.
Interested individuals may sign up to speak to the board on a first-come basis, and will be limited to three minutes each, Rhodes said.

Fator’s ‘Got Talent’ makes it to top 20
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

Courtesy Photo
Emma (left) and Terry Fator, Top 20 performers on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” show.

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Local mom and Realtor Marie Sligh said she is exceptionally proud of her son Terry Fator.
Fator moved into the Top 20 Tuesday on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” show.
Fator is well-known for both his talent as a ventriloquist and as a singer.
A couple of years ago at the suggestion of his manager, Fator combined the singing and the ventriloquist act.
It was this combination that had AGT judges David Hasselhoff and Sharon Osbourne on their feet and applauding on the first note.
He and his “partner” Emma Taylor, performed the Etta James song “At Last.”
When Fator was in the fifth grade, a teacher had him write a report on Valentine’s Day, Sligh said.
During his research he came across a book on ventriloquism.
“A few weeks later, Terry dipped into his savings and bought a ‘Willie Talk’ dummy from the Sears catalog,” Sligh explained.
“By the time he was 20, he was the lead singer for a show band,” she added.
All during Fator’s childhood, he kept friends and family entertained with his ventriloquist abilities and his ability to impersonate actors and singers, Sligh said.
“If you close your eyes, it’s hard to tell it isn’t the original artist singing – and he does it with his mouth closed!” she said.
His sister, Debbie Beard, lives in the lake area and she also expresses pride in her brother.
“He has one of the kindest hearts. I am three years younger than him, and he is always there when I need him,” Beard said.
“What he does (his performances), it’s out of pure love, it’s where his heart lies,” she added.
She plans to attend his next show in Los Angeles.
Fator has been working with a sore foot. About July 1, Fator fell and broke his ankle. While it has been very painful, he refuses to let it slow him down, his mom said.
Fator has produced his first CD featuring his strong voice and singing talents, which is available to his fans on his website,