County switches to biodiesel
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
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
Lawrence said he paid $2.49/gallon for his initial 1,000-gallon
“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
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
The response to biodiesel availability has been “overwhelming,”
“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,”
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
“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)
Humane Society eyes closing
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,
• try to work a funding arrangement out with Kaufman County and local
municipalities, and accept animals only until a new shelter facility can
Henderson County animals would no longer be accepted under this option,
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.
‘Got Talent’ makes it to top 20
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
Emma (left) and Terry Fator, Top 20 performers on NBC’s “America’s Got
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”
Fator is well-known for both his talent as a ventriloquist and as a
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
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
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,