Taco Bus conquers Tampa with its popular Mexican food truck

 

Taco Bus provides Tampa with a unique and authentic dining experience while bringing a little bit of Mexico to the area.

It all started with a single bus 20 years ago. Today, Taco Bus restaurants still offer the same food the owner from Mexico served when he first opened his small business.

“He basically changed the name, added a food truck to it, and now, we’re at five locations,” said Aaron Lucas, the general manager of Taco Bus in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

The modern food truck trend began in 2008 in California. Since then, it has made its way eastward. Taco Bus was one of the first original food trucks in St. Petersburg. Lucas even thinks it might now be the most famous food truck in Florida.

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America’s Got Talent Hosts Open Call in Tampa

NBC’s America’s Got Talent held auditions for season 10 in Tampa this past Sunday, Nov. 2.

Thousands of people lined up outside the Tampa Bay Convention Center in hopes  that their talent would land them a spot on the new season.

Jason Raff, one of the executive producers for the show, highlighted what makes the program stand out from other reality shows.

“America’s Got Talent is the only show that’s open to any age and any talent. We have singing competitions out there, we’ve got dance competitions, but we really have no rules,” Raff said. “I think the diversity we find in Tampa has been great for us.”

Singers, dancers and performers of all sorts spent nearly all day waiting and practicing  for just 90 seconds of audition time.

One of the more unique talents exhibited was that of Cyliss Harrington, a Tampa herpetologist that willingly holds the head of two pythons in his mouth.

“I basically swallow its head,” Harrington said. “For people who are afraid of them, what I do is run a rescue, and I go out to Ybor City on the weekends and let people hold them and take their picture.”

Those who auditioned won’t know if they have made it into the next round until March of next year.

“I think I did pretty good, I just hope I didn’t creep out any of the judges downstairs.” Harrington said.

Season 10 is set to air in May and will run through Sept.

Raff was hopeful of the talent Tampa had to offer.

“It’s not even lunch time for me and I’ve already seen several singers, a horse come into my room and several snakes with a dog, so it’s looking to be a good season this year.” Raff said.

USF Graduate Opens Violin Shop in Tampa

Ethan Morency was another unsure college graduate until he decided to open the Violin Shop Tampa in 2013 combining his business degree with his passion.

“I graduated in spring of 2013,” Morency said. “I was out there applying for a lot of jobs, got a lot of interviews, but nothing that really piqued my interest and I wanted to fix that.”

The shop specializes in the sale and repair of violins, cellos and bass instruments. Since its opening, the business has doubled in size.

This venture came in partnership with Dereck Coons, who worked as Morency’s manager at a music shop in Melbourne, Florida.

“[Ethan’s] created a really warm, inviting atmosphere here for people to come in and hangout and purchase violins and get repairs done,” Coons said.

Music has been a part of Morency’s life for almost 15 years now. When he’s not working with violins, he’s the lead singer of his band, Anew.

“I always think music has to be a part of my life,” Morency said. “It’s who I am.”

Morency’s advice for recent graduates: absolutely follow your dreams.

“Focus on what you enjoy doing and something will fall into place,” Morency said. “You have to pursue it, you have to work hard, but it will happen.”

Violin Shop Tampa is located at 4009 Henderson Blvd., Tampa, Florida.

Dr. Jane Goodall enlightens guests at USF Sun Dome with words of encouragement, inspiration

Primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall took the stage at the USF Sun Dome earlier this month  to encourage students and audience members to raise their conservation efforts and environmental awareness.

This event was brought to USF by the College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with Frontier Forum and University Lecture Series.

Eric Eisenberg, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, felt that his goal in getting Dr. Goodall to speak was one meant not only to inspire students, but also to give them perspective on all of the positive change they can bring to the world.

“It seems to me that one of the main goals we have in educating students and preparing our graduates for the world today is to really have a global perspective on what the grand challenges are that are facing us as a species, as a planet.

Dr. Goodall spoke about her experiences living with chimpanzees in Africa, her perseverance with her research and stressed the importance of having compassion towards both each other and animals.

Students, among other interested guests, were very moved by Goodall’s virtue and true care for the world and her work.

“It was absolutely incredible. I am so ecstatic that USF got her to come and speak,” said Alexis Beaudoin, senior in Health Sciences. “It was inspiring and it really gave me hope.”

There are two more lectures planned for this school year and the dean thinks students will really enjoy them.

“Every year we get together and we try to identify three or four people that we think would really be transformative to bring to campus,” said Eisenberg.  “And I’ve been very proud of the people we’ve invited and brought in the past.”