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by: Jesse Springer,

After losing to Springfield, Vermont (population 9,000) in the Simpsons Movie contest, Oregon has something to be proud of - a grand prize winner of its own in a national contest.

Jesse Springer, one of three cartoonists that the Lake Oswego Review uses to illustrate its editorial page, has won the grand prize in the nationwide Science Idol cartoon contest, sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Out of 400 total entries, three of Springer's cartoons were chosen among the 12 finalists by a panel of celebrity judges that included 'Doonesbury' creator Garry Trudeau and Tom Toles of the Washington Post. The top prize was determined by popular vote on the UCS Web site.

As overall winner, Springer received $500 and a trip to Washington, D.C. to have lunch with Toles.

'This whole experience has been very exciting for me,' Springer said. 'Not only has it helped to further two goals of mine: To raise my profile as a cartoonist, and also to spread the message about political interference with science, the theme of the contest. My hope as the grand prize winner - and the hope of the UCS - is to continue to pursue these goals.'

When Springer heard he had three cartoons among the finalists, he decided that he needed to choose a single cartoon to promote, so as not to 'split the vote' among his family, friends and supporters.

'Imagine my surprise when I learned that a different cartoon won! Out of about 20,000 votes cast, (his cartoon) 'Truth' (top) received 4,300 votes, (while his original choice) 'Political Science' (above) came in second with 3,000.

'Although surprising, the result is gratifying: The cartoon that won the contest did so on its own merits, rather than the outcome of lobbying efforts.'

Here is a link to the contest site: http://www.ucsus

a.org/scientific_integrity/science_idol/