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Metro Atlanta's lake economy booming again

ACWORTH, Ga. -- The summer forecast for metro Atlanta's economy has one facet that is sparkling:

The massive lake economy is booming once again.

Allatoona and Lanier are back, after the past few years of literal and economic drought.

The lakes' levels are nearly back up to full pool again, just as boaters and tourists are returning to the lakes with money to spend.

Marinas are expecting good summer business, for a change.

"I think it's probably going to be higher than it's been in the last, I'd say, five years, for sure," said Tara Anderson, the accounts manager for Holiday Harbor Marina and Resort, at Allatoona Lake in the Bartow County part of the City of Acworth.

Anderson said Monday that Holiday Harbor's profits are already up 33 percent so far this year, compared with the same period last year.

Boat sales, alone, are up 144 percent. As soon as the business puts new boats on the lot, they're sold.

Dept. of Labor launches system to improve unemployment insurance

Dept. of Labor launches system to improve unemployment insurance

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Labor recently rolled out a new electronic system designed to increase efficiency and reduce costs of operating the state's unemployment insurance program.

Georgia is one of 10 states to adopt the State Information Data Exchange (SIDES) E-response. It allows employers to respond promptly to the Department of Labor when a former worker files an unemployment claim, according to state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

"This new online capability is part of our continuing effort to make the Georgia Department of Labor more user-friendly and technologically up-to-date," Butler said in a statement. "This will significantly speed communications between the labor department and employers. At the same time, it will help prevent some overpayments to people who might not be eligible for benefits, saving us from having to go back and try to collect money from ineligible applicants."

Delay in Sunday sales worries Cobb retailers

COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- Retailers in unincorporated Cobb County are worried about losing profits if Sunday alcohol sales are delayed. The county's Sunday alcohol sales vote, which would have allowed sales of alcohol on June 1, 2012, is being challenged.

Liquor stores like Sherlocks near Marietta feel like they're being caught in a political scrum. While other cities and counties around them are ringing up sales on Sundays, they're still waiting to start, and they may have to wait longer than planned.

Sherlock's store manager David Reed said they're already being hurt on normally busy sales days. "Saturdays have become a little soft because there's no longer a sense of urgency to shop on a Saturday because the public thinks that everyone is open on Sunday already," he said.

UHY’s David Barton to Share Knowledge on Service Organization Audits February 14

UHY’s David Barton to Share Knowledge on Service Organization Audits February 14

Webinar will focus on data center audit standards and assessments

David Barton will address professional service organizations and their customers and lead a discussion on data center audit standards and assessments during a webinar Tuesday, February 14th from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

8 Ryan's restaurants closed in Georgia

ATLANTA -- Buffets Inc., owner of the Ryan's restaurant chain, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this week. The company released its list of closures on Friday which it includes eight locations in Georgia.

Ryan's in Warner-Robins, Stockbridge and Thomasville were closed Jan. 19. On Friday, Ryan's in Martinez, Calhoun, Canton, Cartersville and Macon were shuttered.

Buffets now runs 21 Ryan's restaurants in Georgia.

'Mega Monday' expected to set records for shopping, returns

ATLANTA -- It's the biggest gift return day of the season, and experts predict "Mega Monday" could be as big as Cyber Monday or Black Friday.

Retailers slashed prices to entice customers already heading to stores to exchange gifts and hunt for after-Christmas bargains.

"Thirty-five percent more people will be returning this year, than last year," said Janice Lieberman, Consumer Correspondent for the Today Show. "For every dollar spent during the holiday, almost ten cents of it is returned." 

Some store make returns much easier than others. 

Sears may be the number one easy return store because they not only readily accept returns, but they extended their return window to 120 days through this holiday season.

Postal Service to delay plant closings

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Postal Service, which earlier this month announced plans to close more than half of its 461 mail-processing plants, now says it won't move forward on the closings until next May.

"In response to a request made by multiple U.S. Senators, [the Postal Service] has agreed to delay the closing or consolidation of any post office or mail processing facility until May 15, 2012," the agency said in a statement.

The Postal Service did not identify any of the senators.

Under review for possible closure in Georgia are facilities in Acworth, Albany, Athens, Augusta, Cartersville, Columbus, Douglasville, Marietta, Savannah, Swainsboro, Valdosta and Waycross.