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Wednesday, January 9, 2013 Look for the October 16, 2013 2013-2014 Edition MyConnection online at Published every Wednesday and delivered free by The Newnan Times-Herald Check Out the Classifieds on Page 7 Dodgers’ Lasorda visits Palmetto girl hit by baseball By Ana Ivey God works in strange ways, according to Tommy Lasorda, the legendary baseball manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. “If she hadn’t gotten hit in the eye, I wouldn’t be here,” said Lasorda last week from Summer Johnson’s home in Palmetto. Summer, a 12-year-old softball player, was in California on Aug. 18 to watch her brother, Kel, compete for a spot on the 18U Team USA baseball team. While sitting in the stands along the third baseline with her mother at Long Beach State University, a foul ball slammed into her left eye. The pitch was clocked at 95 mph. Lasorda, who was sitting about 10 to 15 feet away, was the first to respond. “To see a girl get hit with a ball like that…,” said Lasorda, shaking his head, as he visited with Summer at her home recently. “I believe in God, but sometimes I wonder, why would something like this happen to her? Those are things that we don’t know why, so I thought maybe I could help her.” Lasorda traveled to Atlanta on a private jet courtesy of the Dodgers to spend time with the youngster, encouraging her to pursue her dreams of playing college softball someday. Summer’s ophthalmologist believes she sustained optic nerve damage, which is irreparable. She sees a black spot from the center of her eye and double vision from her periphery. lasorda, page 4 Over several intimate hours, the Hall of Famer shared dozens of baseball jokes and stories with the Johnson family. From left are Lasorda, mom Rhonda Johnson and Summer Johnson. PhotoS by Ana Ivey LA Dodgers legendary baseball manager Tommy Lasorda traveled to Atlanta to spend time with Palmetto youngster Summer Johnson, encouraging her to pursue her dreams of playing college softball someday. Summer, 12, was hit by a baseball in her left eye while sitting in the stands watching her brother, Kel, compete for a spot on the 18U Team USA team in August. Tommy Lasorda was sitting 10 to 15 feet away when Palmetto 12-year-old Summer Johnson was hit by a baseball in California on Aug. 18 while watching her brother, Kel, compete for a spot on the 18U Team USA baseball team. Hearty meals for chilly evenings Family Features Brisk autumn evenings call for warm, homemade meals that bring the family together around the dinner table. If your taste buds call for a fall classic, cuddle up with a pip­ ing hot bowl of chili. The sweetness of brown sugar comple­ments the blend of fresh garlic and Italian sausage in this recipe for Chiliville Chili. Warm up the family with their favorite Italian dishes that feature bold and savory flavors. You can’t go wrong with a traditional family favorite like spaghetti and meatballs. Grab the garlic bread and, please, don’t forget the Parmesan. You’ll need them for this delicious recipe of Italian Meatballs. Girl Scouts from Troop 10322 build a cairn on the Flat Rock Trail. Chiliville Chili Makes: 10 to 12 servings Italian Meatballs Makes: 6 servings 1 egg, lightly beaten 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/4 cup milk 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped 1 package (16 ounces) mild ground Italian Sausage or 1 package (19 ounces) Italian Sausage Links 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, com­bine the egg, bread crumbs, cheese, milk and onion. If using sausage links, remove from casings. 2. Add sausage to bread crumb mixture and mix well. 3. Shape into 20 meat­balls; arrange on shallow baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through (160°F). 4. Serve with favorite sauce and spaghetti. 1 package (16 ounces) Ground Italian Sausage (Mild, Sweet or Hot) 1 pound ground beef 1 medium onion, chopped 3 celery ribs, chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced 3 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions 2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1 can (14.5 ounces) beef broth 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons chili powder 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1/2 crushed red pepper flakes Cheddar cheese, shredded (optional) 1. Cook sausage and ground beef in large saucepan over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. 2. Add onion, celery and garlic. 3. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until tender. 4. Stir in toma­toes, beans, broth, tomato paste, brown sugar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, cumin and red pepper flakes. 5. Bring to a boil. 6. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. 7. Sprinkle with cheese if you like and serve immediately. Chattahoochee Bend Expands Flat Rock Trail opens at state park By Sarah Fay Campbell Visitors to Chattahoochee Bend State Park can now visit the park's iconic "Flat Rock" granite areas, following the completion of the Flat Rock Trail. Volunteers completed the one-mile loop trail in just a few hours during a volunteer event held as part of Your State Parks Day. The trail, which traverses the flat rock area and several boulder fields, and crosses the park's highest elevation, is the first trail to be accessed from the "trail head one" parking lot. In addition to being the first new trail built in a year- anda-half, it also connects with the first trail built in the park — a 100-foot ceremonial trail created for the ground-breaking ceremony in 2009. And it was built almost exactly four years after the ground-breaking ceremony. "It was satisfying to see the spot we started at four years ago finally become a part of the hiking trails," said Dean Jackson of the Friends of Chattahoochee Bend State Park. "We had some of the same volunteers and Friends board members who were t here a nd active in 2009 working on the new sections of trail we built, and they have accomplished so much in the four years between," Jackson said. "It was a great feeling and there's a lot more to come." Girl Scout troop 10322, with about 20 scouts and leaders from Madras Middle School and Northgate High School, joined veteran park volunteers to clear, grade and blaze the one-mile trail. “We had a great volunteer turnout, with veteran trailblazers leading the Girl Scouts. We managed to get the one-mile trail completed in just a few hours,” said chapter President Steve St. Laurent. "That's something to be proud of. We were all very dirty, maybe a little tired, but I bet most of us would go back out there and work some more.” Over the next few months, Friends volunteers will build the 1.4-mile Boulder Valley Trail, which will connect to the Flat Rock Trail in three places to create a “choose your own adventure” trail system. East-west loop trails will also be built from Trail Head One to the park’s visitor center, which will connect the new trails to the existing nine miles of trails that Friends volunteers have built over the past four years. “The flat rock area is a very pretty place to hike and will be a great amenity for visitors,” said Park Manager Tim Banks. “It’s actually significant from an ecological point of view, too. The upper end is an example of Southern Flatrock, which is a level 2 imperiled ecosystem, and the lower end of the loop contains examples of Montane longleaf pine, which is globally imperiled level 1 ecosystem. It is a great asset for educating visitors about these natural systems.” Over the past year, Friends volu nte er s h ave worke d with park management and other groups to maintain and improve current trails, build foot bridges and improve blazing on the trails, provide shade trees and other improvements for campsites, lead river clean-ups, purchase rentable canoe/kayaks for use on the river, remove silt fencing lead from the park’s construction, provide plantings and beautification projects, and lead community programs and activities at the new park. trail, page 3

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