Tumwater football fans have a lot to celebrate after victory

Thumbs up: T-Bird Team

South Sound football fans were smiling this week after the Tumwater High School football team knocked off No. 1 ranked Archbishop Murphy in the 2A championship game 34-14 Saturday at the Tacoma Dome. The Thunderbirds capped a 12-1 season by capturing their fifth state title in football. It had been 17 years since the last state championship for Sid Otton’s program. Most of the players on this year’s team hadn’t even been born yet. But they are well aware of the T-Bird tradition of winning football. Much to the joy of T-Bird fans, Tumwater dominated the championship game from the beginning, racking up a big lead early with their explosive offense and tough defense. “I knew they were going to do something special tonight,” Otton said after the game. “And they did.” After missing the playoffs last year, the 2010 version of T-Bird football chased the ultimate prize with renewed determination. They were rewarded for their hard work and resolve.

Tax Help

Thurston County low- income families and senior citizen are fortunate to have two volunteer programs available to help them with their tax returns free of charge. The AARP Tax-Aide program and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program are preparing for another busy tax season, training volunteer tax preparers and making sure they have enough sites ready around the county to meet what is expected to be a growing need for tax help. The AARP program is the oldest of its kind in the country. In keeping with its mission, the AARP program’s top priority is low-income and medium-income senior citizens, but it also serves other low- income individuals and families. The VITA program is designed for the low-income community and is a service provided by the Thurston County Asset Building Coalition, which helps people with scarce financial resources acquire and save what they can to move out of poverty. The two programs combined worked with more than 1,900 households last year and recouped more than $1.75 million in tax returns and more than $500,000 in Earned Income Tax Credits. That’s money back in the pockets of those who need it the most.

Thumbs down: Beheading

A 30-year-old Olympia man is charged with first- degree animal cruelty in Thurston County Superior Court after allegedly beheading a neighbor’s cat with a dull machete. This is one of the worst cases of a violent crime against an animal in recent memory in South Sound. The brutality of the incident is sickening and the accused, if guilty as charged, must be punished with the full force of the law. The man even had the audacity to post notice of his crime on his Facebook page, This is a man who needs help to control his anger and impulsive behavior.

Thumbs up: Job Fair

Some 200 homeless and unemployed veterans attended a job fair last week at the National Guard Armory in Olympia. While attendance did not automatically lead to a job, the 50 or so homeless vets did receive a hot meal, haircut, shower and personal supplies to help prepare them for the job fair. This was the fifth year for the job fair, but it almost didn’t happen. A last- minute cut in federal funding placed it in jeopardy. However, the state Department of Veterans Affairs and other groups pitched in to cover $7,000 in job fair costs. No doubt, this is a tough economic climate for job seekers — veterans and non-veterans alike. But the veterans have served their country, often at great personal sacrifice, and deserve some special attention. Employers need to give veterans, especially those down on their luck, a fair shake.