News at noon: Grim news for Florida families; 5 takeaways from the State of the Union speech; Everglades open for drilling; and more

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Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and developments.
Published February 6

In a good economy, report reveals grim news for Florida families

Spending is up and unemployment down, which means Florida's economic indicators have been headed the right way for several years.

Yet, the untold story of the state's economic rebound is that almost half of Florida households still struggle to pay for basic needs, according to a new in-depth study of the working poor released Wednesday by the United Way.

That is also true of the Tampa Bay market where 43 percent of households are struggling to afford housing, child care, food, transportation and health care, an increase of nearly 8 percent since 2010.

Most of that hardship is the result of stagnant wages, the report states, and an economy dominated by low-wage and entry-level jobs.

5 Takeaways from Trump's State of the Union speech

President Donald Trump delivered his second State of the Union speech Tuesday night, calling on Democrats and Republicans to work together and making only brief reference to the rancor that has dominated his presidency.

Here are five key takeaways from his remarks.

Everglades open for oil drilling after court ruling

After nearly four years of legal battles, a Miami family that made its fortune in real estate will now be able to drill an exploratory oil well in the Everglades, just west of the Broward County suburbs.

A Tallahassee appeals court reversed a decision by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday, ultimately granting Kanter Real Estate the authority to drill.

The land Kanter Real Estate President John Kanter is interested in drilling is on a 20 mile-wide, 150-mile-long stretch of shale between Miami and Fort Myers dubbed the Sunniland Trend. The western part of that stretch has been tapped into by a Texas oil company, but the Kanter family argues that they have found the potential for oil on the eastern part.

The land sits in one of the South Florida Water Management District’s three conservation areas.

National signing day: Florida Gators poach one from Alabama, enter top 10

Who says there isn’t any drama on the second national signing day?

The Gators were thankful for it Wednesday morning when four-star defensive end Khris Bogle flipped from Alabama to Florida in his ceremony at Cardinal Gibbons. Miami was also in the mix for Bogle. The commitment from the 6-foot-3, 212-pound prospect moved UF into the top 10 in 247Sports’ composite rankings.

Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival concerts: Boyz II Men, Daughtry, the Band Perry and more

This spring, rock stars are taking over your favorite theme park.

SeaWorld has the Seven Seas Food Festival with Flo Rida, Frankie Valli and 98 Degrees. Universal Orlando has Mardi Gras with Pitbull, Macklemore and the Steve Miller Band.

And now, finally, we have the lineup for Busch Gardens' Food and Wine Festival in Tampa.

Daughtry, the Band Perry, 3 Doors Down, Boyz II Men, Foreigner and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones are among the big names coming to Tampa in March and April, the park announced Tuesday. Also on the bill: Justin Moore, Josh Turner, El Gran Combo, Edwin McCain and more.

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