I’ll take four quarts of animal fat — and a tune up!

HAVE you ever had that experience where you walk into your auto mechanic’s shop and you’re stepping over muffler parts and tip-toeing around oil stains?

It’s like you’ve walked into the Stringfellow Acid Pits.
And if you’re the least bit environmentally conscious, you don’t want to know what chemicals they’re flushing from your radiator or what really happens with your car’s used motor oil.

Well, a company from Portland, Ore. — now there’s a green city if there ever was one — wants to change all that. That’s why they’ve opened Honest-1 Auto Care, marketed as yes, honest, but also environmentally friendly.
On Thursday, they opened the first green auto repair station in California at 780 N. Diamond Bar Blvd., in Diamond Bar. Coincidentally, its not far from one of the state’s largest and most powerful environmental agencies, the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

While the group claims to be straight with people about what repairs their cars need, or don’t need, a claim that can only be tested with word of mouth reviews, the other interesting aspect is its preference for environmentally certified oil brands and processes.
For example, when you go for the oil change, ask for the motor oil made from “American grown renewable animal fats.” That’s right. No actual petroleum-based anything. No dinosaurs were killed in making this oil. HHeck, I’d rather have the animal fat in the pistons and rods of my car engine than in the veins and arteries of my body.

The stuff, called G-Oil, is billed as the world’s first bio-based motor oil. For starters, you don’t have to feel guilty about the war in Iraq when you put five quarts of this stuff down your crankcase.

Or, if you don’t want to go all green, you can ask for the Eco Power Oil, which is made from used motor oil that has been stripped of contaminants. This twice-refined oil is “every bit as good as virgin,” say the ads but is produced using 85 percent less energy than the stuff made from crude oil. And Eco Power Oil reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 percent.

Again, you’re feeling guilty about the latest heat wave? Try some of this instead of your usual Quaker State.

“Motor oil never goes bad. If it is stripped of metals and contaminants and refined, it can be reused,” said Braden Poole, operations manager for Honest-1 Auto Care, which, though started in Portland, is now based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

It’s real smart for Honest-1 to market themselves as green. Why? Because green sells. Lately, the only growth in the service and manufacturing industry seems to be solar panels for homes , water heaters and now, green-car care service.
Honest-1 is so excited about breaking into the California market, it is working on adding electric charging stations for electric car owners.

“We are looking at ways to accommodate electric vehicles, too, as that business grows,” Poole said. “We want to be part of the California business scene.”

Finally, a company that wants to come to California. And guess why? Because of the state’s high level of environmental consciousness. Instead of knocking our state’s clean air and greenhouse gas reduction rules, politicians should be promoting them. They are a marketing tool.

Used motor oil, transmission oil, whatever else comes out of your car finds its way to a recycler. And not just any boat to China, Poole implied. “We use a collection of companies in which it is guaranteed it will be recycled,” he said.

Poole spoke to me about niche marketing. That is, selling to people who care about the environment. And to people who are uncomfortable stepping into a stereotypical mechanic shop.

So far, they’ve opened 31 locations since 2003. Twenty-two others are under development, Poole said. Often, the company will retrofit an old building and save on materials. They’ve repurposed Blockbuster Video stores and even old car washes, he said.

“We focus on conserving energy, using energy-efficient light bulbs, using less water in our landscaping,” he said. “We’re trying to impact the environment in a positive way.”
No more slipping on oil stains. Heck, maybe no more oil, period. That’s the California way.
# # #

Buckboard Days parade rolls through Rowland Heights

The Buckboard Days Parade rolled through Rowland Heights Saturday, with salutes to longtime educators Maria Ott, Leslie Phillips and Glenn Duncan.

In August, Ott retired as the superintendent of the Rowland Unified School District.

“Maria was a wonderful superintendent so we wanted to recognize all her hard work for our schools,” said Parade co-chair Lynne Ebenkamp.

Ebenkamp said Phillips, a teacher from Rowland High School, was chosen from an essay submitted by student Jasper Luong.

“Not only does (Phillips) contribute to Rowland High School, she contributes to Rowland Heights,” Luong wrote in the nomination of this stand-out teacher.

Duncan is well known as the president of the Southlands Christian School. The private school offers a Christian education from preschool to high school.

The educators were joined by more than 70 other entrants in the grand procession down Colima Road.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story BUCKBOARD.

Bark Park built for dogs in Diamond Bar

Diamond Bar is going to the dogs. No really, crews are working on the city’s first dog park.

The so-called Bark Park is scheduled to open on Saturday, Nov. 17, and the local hounds are howling in anticipation.

The pups will have more than an acre in a corner of the popular Pantera Park, across the street from Pantera Elementary School. The 23-acre sports park is certainly big enough to handle a few beagles and Irish setters.

In fact, the lucky canines will have two separate areas, 19,400 square feet for small dogs and 39,400 square feet for large dogs.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story BARK.

Ad that calls Rep. Ed Royce a monster paid for by challenger Jay Chen’s brother

A new Super PAC airing campy attack ads that call Rep. Ed Royce, “The Creature from Washington” in a mock horror movie trailer, is funded exclusively by challenger Jay Chen’s brother, according to federal campaign records.

Shaw Yi Chen, 35, who grew up in Hacienda Heights, has contributed $565,000 to America Shining, the independent expenditure committee that produced the ads, according to the latest filing with the Federal Election Commission.

No other contributor is listed in the FEC report dated Oct. 15.

Last week, in a story about the Super PAC, Jay Chen, a Democrat, said he did not know anything about the independent expenditure committee America Shining and “had no coordination” with the group. He said he learned about the group when he saw their Internet ad attacking Royce, a Republican from Fullerton.

The ad is an homage to 1950s-style black-and-white monster movies and uses scary music and ghoulish imagery to depict Royce as a monster who goes around terrorizing senior citizens by taking away their Medicare.

Royce and Chen are are fighting to represent the 39th Congressional district, that includes Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Walnut and Diamond Bar.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story MONSTER.

Walnut Family Festival has everyone jumping for joy in Walnut

Walnut City Mayor Mary Su, center, helps lead a flash mob at the annual Walnut Family Festival in front of Suzanne Park in Walnut on October 13, 2012. Participants practiced for weeks to surprise attendees of the festival.

Participants such as Adia Willemstyn of Pomona learned how to block attacks at a martial arts booth.

For more pictures of the parade, booths and entertainment see FESTIVAL.

Personality more important to road rage than traffic

Almost anyone who’s ever hopped behind the wheel of a car probably knows the rage that comes with being stuck behind someone driving too slow, being in front of someone who wants to go too fast, or watching as another driver weaves in and out of lanes, cutting off everyone else in the process.

Some drivers will let such offenses slide, but others get angry, letting their blood pressure rise in conjunction with their middle fingers. People occasionally take it further than a rude gesture. Since last week, there have been four local incidents that escalated into violence.

On Oct. 2 a Walnut man was stabbed in a 7-11 parking lot after becoming engaged in a tailgating dispute that stretched from Walnut to Glendora.

Read more in J.D. Velasco’s story RAGE.

Two days later, another couple of road-rage incidents occurred. The first was in Arcadia and resulted in one man ramming another’s car for tailgating and trying to pass him.

Later that night, a dispute on the 71 Freeway in Chino Hills led to an off-duty police officer shooting two men in a shopping-center parking lot.

And Monday night, a woman was driving in the fast lane of the 210 Freeway through Glendora when she was approached from behind by a car that flashed its highbeams at her, signaling for her to move out of the way. When she refused, the other car sped past her, with its occupants cursing her. Police say a “projectile” of some kind hit the rear window of her car, shattering it.

Super PAC calls Rep. Ed Royce “Monster from Washington” in ad for challenger Jay Chen

Voters who think politics have gotten scary in the United States now have some proof. A new campaign ad in support of Democratic candidate Jay Chen’s bid for the 39th Congressional District depicts his opponent, 20-year Republican Congressman Ed Royce, as a monster, literally.

The ad, by a new Super PAC supporting Chen, calls Royce “The Creature from Washington” who goes around terrorizing senior citizens by taking away their Medicare.

The ad is an homage to 1950s-style black-and-white monster movies and uses scary music and ghoulish imagery to depict the “attack” on women and the elderly’s Medicare benefits. The ad is more campy than the horror portrayed in Rick Santorum’s “Welcome to Obamaville” ad, released last spring.

“Something disturbing is on the move in California and it’s attacking the things that matter most, like Medicare,” intones the narrator’s voice heard over a man’s footsteps following a woman walking up a darkened staircase. “It voted to raise taxes on hard-working middle class families. It is the creature from Washington: Ed Royce. His votes are real but we can stop him,” the ad concludes.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story MONSTER.

Target donates $500 for books at Walnut Elementary

Walnut Elementary School has been awarded a $500 grant from Target Corp. In recognition of the efforts of Walnut Elementary in promoting literary, the grant will be used to purchase books for kindergarten to second grade students through the First Book Marketplace.

“I received an email from the manager at the Diamond Bar Target in July and was thrilled that they would choose our school to receive much-needed books for our Daily 5 Literacy Program,” shared Principal Janet Green.

“We are all very excited to expand our classroom libraries,” said Library Media Technician Debbie Palmer.

The grant is part of Target’s ongoing efforts to build strong, safe and healthy communities across the country. These efforts include Target’s long history of giving 5 percent of its income to communities, which today equals more than $3 million every week.

As part of this commitment, Target is on track to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015 to help kids learn, schools teach and parents and caring adults engage.

Alumni Patrick Hosterman and John Molla inducted into hall of fame at Rowland High School

One has traveled around the world serving his country, while the other has never ventured far from home while serving his community. But both were honored Oct. 5 when they were inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame at Rowland High School.

Patrick Hosterman

Patrick Hosterman joined the Navy when he graduated in 1988. And he’s been there ever since, serving many deployments overseas, including Operation Desert Shield, then Desert Storm.

John Molla grew up in a Rowland family. His dad, John Sr., actually graduated with Rowland High’s first graduating class in 1966. An aunt and uncle are also Rowland grads.
“I’ve been a Raider my whole life, the high school is home to me,” Molla said.

In fact, the popular math teacher has been at the local high school for 26 years, four as a student and 22 as an instructor.

In 2008, Molla was named the district’s teacher of the year.

Read more about the inductees at ALUMNI.

Aztecas Restaurant wants to stay open until 1:30 a.m. in Hacienda Heights

You could say that Jose and Javier Gonzalez went from the frying pan into the fire. The two brothers have worked in construction their entire adult lives, and now they are trying their hands at the restaurant business. They’ve left a recession-plagued business to one in which 9,000 businesses fail every year.

Talk about two tough industries. But the daunting task of owning and operating a Mexican restaurant hasn’t stopped them. With business stagnant, the brothers are taking a new approach for their new restaurant, Aztecas Restaurant and Bar.

After investing about $110,000 in the establishment on Hacienda Boulevard and Gale Avenue, they’re ready to bring in late-night live entertainment and beer and wine to boost business, said Jose Gonzalez, co-owner.

“We have stagnated this whole year,” since opening in January, he said. “We are hoping by adding live entertainment we’ll add business.”

At first the Gonzalez’s plan to keep their restaurant open Thursday through Sunday nights until 1:30 a.m. didn’t sit well with some members of the Hacienda Heights Improvement Association. But the advisory board to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has ironed out its differences with the restaurant owners.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story AZTECAS