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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 8, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas Wednesday, October 8, 2003 — Herald-Zeftung — Page 5 AAlaskans cash in on luxuries with oil stipend By Mary Pemberton Associated Press Writer ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Robert Lague fingered the price tags on the guitars in the pawn shop as he fantasized about what he will do with his check for $1,107.56 in free money. Lague, a 34-year-old laborer from Chugiak, said that even though he is not working now, he is going to “spend it on junk, on fun stuff, kind Voters flock to polls in recall of using it as mad money.” In what may seem inconceivable to people in the Lower 48, practically every man, woman and child in Alaska receives a check every year just for living here. The money is from the Alaska Permanent Fund, an oil-royalty investment account created in 1976 after crude was discovered on Alaskas North Slope. Beginning Wednesday, a total of $663.2 million will be handed out to close to 600,OOO Alaskans. In the days before the checks go out, Alaskans are inundated with oilers from businesses competing for the money. Pawn shops offer to cash checks in the hope that people will drop some of their money there. I luge blinking signs advertise PFD specials at car dealerships in Anchorage. Travel companies offer special tours to Mexico and Europe. A clothing store is running a newspaper ad of a buxom blond in black lingerie, encouraging readers to have “some PFD fun.” The first dividend check was issued in 1982. This year’s check is hundreds of dollars less than the $1,540.76 paid last year and well below the record-high of $ 1,963.86 in 2000. The amount is calculated according to the fund’s five-year average return on its stock, bond and real estate investments. And several times this year, the fund was bat tered so badly by the slump in the stock market that Alaskans were told there might be no dividend at all That would put a damper on Alaska’s economy, particularly at this time of year when businesses have come to expect the influx of PFI) monos Every year, lawmakers debate whether the fund should he used to help run state government. Alaska, which has no income tax or statewide sales tax, faces chronic deficits. By Erica Warner Associated Press Writer LOS ANGELES — The extraordinary spectacle of California’s recall election drew to a close Tuesday, as voters turned out in heavy numbers to decide whether to depose Gov. Gray Davis — and perhaps replace him with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hollywood action hero and novice politician. Davis fought to avoid becoming the nation’s first governor in 82 years to be recalled from office. He was elected to a second term just 11 month ago, but with less than 50 percent of the vote, dragged down by his personal unpopularity and v.oters’ anger over the state’s struggling economy. Recent polls suggested voters favored throwing the Democratic incumbent out of office and installing the moderate Republican Schwarzenegger. But it was uncertain whether the “Terminator” star’s appeal had been tarnished by 11th-hour allegations that he groped women and spoke admiringly of Adolf I litler. About seven in IO voters questioned in exit polls said they had made up their minds how they would vote on the recall question more than a month before the election. By late afternoon, Terri Car-baugh, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State, said the turnout appeared headed to 60 percent — higher than the 5Q.7 percent who voted in last November’s gubernatorial election, but lower than the 71 percent of the November 2000 presidential election. If so, the turnout could be the largest percentage for a gubernatorial election in California since 1982. Polling places around the state reported long lines and a shortage of parking places. Tuesday’s vote was the final act in a remarkable melodrama, played out on the stage of the nation’s most populated state before a gawking, incredulous worldwide audience. Big turnout for California voters Poll workers reported an unusually high turnout for Tuesday’s special recall election in California. A Field Poll released Tuesday morning predicted that 65 percent of the state’s registered voters would go to the polls. m Total percentage of registered voters who voted HI Percentage absentee votes 80 percent 70 60 50 40    ...... 30 ttl-l'l-l-l.1-1-1-10 ....... 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