Greasecars in Montecito

Having French fries with your burger may not be such a terrible thing after all, especially if it helps someone drive home. A company called Greasecar is helping turn old diesel cars into biofuel cruisers. Chris Dabney, a Montecito Union alumnus and former Lucky’s valet, has recently returned from a solar program in New Mexico and can be seen driving his converted 1980 Mercedes 300D.

“The conversion process is not very difficult,” Chris says, noting that, “They [Greasecar] send a very detailed instruction manual with the kit so it's hard to mess up. It would help,” Chris adds, “if you had a little knowledge of electrical wiring and knew the basic components of the diesel engine.”

Chef James Sly of Lucky’s, who is in the process of converting two cars to run on vegetable oil, believes the conversions are the best alternative out there for eco-conscious drivers. “I feel that vegetable oil,” Sly opines, “and waste vegetable oil, is a significantly better solution than ethanol, which can cut your fuel mileage in half. Alcohol has about half the energy content of gasoline,” James continues, “as well as being hygroscopic - it attracts water, which you typically don't want in your engine.” Chef Sly has his customers in mind, however, when he weighs the pros and cons of biofuel. “Closer to home,” he says, “the move to ethanol has raised the price of corn, which in turn caused a jump of 20% in the price of our meat at Lucky's. More ethanol equals not only expensive tortillas, but also expensive prime beef. And we don’t want that!”

Chris Dabney believes Greasecar is here to stay, that it is not just a passing fad, and encourages others to explore the vegetable-oil fuel option. “I would very much like to see other people interested in this technology,” he says, observing that, “There are actually more people doing it than you might think.”

Kremser elected President of Montecito Rotary

Paul E. Kremser, Jr. has been elected president of the Rotary Club of Montecito 2007-2008. The club began in 1953, is the only service club in Montecito, and marks Kremser as its fifty-fourth president. Kremser has been a member of Rotary for five years and has served as a board member and on several committees. He is also a recipient of The Paul Harris Fellow Award given by Rotary International.

Kremser graduated Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley. Additionally, he was a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, Military Police Corps, and served from 1967 to 1975. He is an attorney and owner of Kremser and Howard specializing in civil litigation with an emphasis on insurance law.

Serving with Kremser on the Rotary of Montecito’s board of directors are Andy Berwick, Carolyn Brown, Chris DeVries, Dick Douglas, Kelly Fouch, Bill Lindberg and Sherry Melchiorre.

Rotary Club of Montecito meets every Tuesday for lunch at the Montecito Country Club. For further information about Montecito Rotary, please call Les Esposito 963-7339

Ready to Rock

Montecito child psychologist Don MacMannis, Ph.D. has produced a series of CDs and activities called Ready to Rock Kids with a little help from a number of local child and adult singers. MacMannis, an award-winning songwriter for the “Jay Jay the Jet Plane” series on PBS, enlisted the help of Emma Steinkellner, Olivia Fanaro, Briggs Boss, Allison Lewis, Sam Kulchin, Anya Ruskin, Mya Burke, Aaron Linker, Kelly Adams, Addison Mills, Alden Crowe, Carlin Traxler, Kelci Hahn, Alexandra Varner, and others to make the CD.

The all-new Ready to Rock Kids Volume 2 contains 12 upbeat songs about bullying, teamwork, the Golden Rule, feelings, diversity, responsibility, peacemaking, and other issues. The activity book contains fifty-plus activities for fun and learning.

To check out samples and purchase Ready to Rock CDs and activity books, go to