CB5 Weed Meeting Gets Heated

By Celia Bernhardt | [email protected]

Things got heated at Community Board 5’s Liquor License and Cannabis meeting on Nov. 1.

Two applicants for cannabis licenses in Maspeth and Glendale came to the meeting to introduce themselves, receive feedback and attempt to make their case for why they should be approved by the Board. Community members didn’t take kindly to either. Nearly fifty people attended the Community Board’s Cannabis Committee meeting, held at Christ the King High School in Middle Village.

The first to present, Masood Weish, had filed an application for 70-24 Myrtle Ave in Glendale. The second, Bryan Whalen, applied for 64-01 Grand Ave and for 63-09 Flushing Avenue in Maspeth, though the meeting focused on the Grand Ave location. Both Maspeth spots were previously Valley National Bank locations.

Much of the controversy throughout the evening’s proceedings surrounded these locations’ distances from local schools and churches. Ultimately, the committee voted to not approve either applicant.

Applications for the general population to obtain a cannabis license opened up in early October, setting loose the floodgates on community boards across the city tasked with reviewing hopeful merchants’ applications before the state’s Office of Cannabis Management makes the ultimate decision. While areas like Maspeth have relatively few applications in comparison to boards in downtown Manhattan fielding over 20, Community Board leaders still say the brand-new process has been overwhelming.

The night began with the board informing the crowd that all applicants for 56-40 Myrtle Avenue had withdrawn. Next, the mic was turned over to Weish.

The meeting took place in Christ the King High School’s cafeteria.

Weish told the crowd that he was primarily involved in real estate and in the Edible Arrangement franchise, but was driven to get involved in the cannabis industry after his son started using marijuana acquired from unregulated smoke shops at age 18.

“He was consuming and taking stuff that was really unlicensed, moldy, all kinds of pesticides,” Weish said, explaining that it made him realize that state-regulated cannabis stores were an important option.

Weish went on to say that because the products he would sell are relatively expensive, as opposed to the cheap prices some unregulated stores peddle, his store would not bring in any “bad traffic of people.”

“I believe in my heart that it’s a great thing that the city is doing this. There’s no way of stopping this anyway,” Weish said. “I’m next to the McDonalds and a gas station. When you look at the neighborhood where I’m at, there’s a lot of stores closing…by us coming to the area, it’s going to bring all the businesses foot traffic.”

Weish said that the other applicant for this location had withdrawn, and that he had plans to sign the lease on the location that day, after the meeting concluded.

When asked about advertising, Weish said “my understanding was that we’re not allowed to advertise. I believe the city of New York just does it with emails, and that’s it.”

Then, the first back-and-forth of the night about distance requirements began. When asked by a committee member about distance to “the school,” Weish asserted that it was over 500 feet—the minimum requirement.

“We did different ways of measuring it. It’s over 500,” Weish said. A few attendees from the public in the crowd called out, saying “It’s not over [500].”

A board member asked which school Weish was thinking of. “I’m not sure the name of the school,” he said, “but I know it’s on 69th street.”

“I think you’re measuring to P.S 91 and not considering the fact that Redeemer Lutheran is closer,” the board member said. “If it’s not 500 feet, it makes this application void. But you have to be conscious that there is a school there, and your measurement is to 91, not to Redeemer Lutheran.”

“Okay, if it is, then we wouldn’t accept it,” Weish said.

“It’s 497 feet,” someone called out from the crowd.

After a couple additional questions, the meeting shifted to Whalen and the proposed Maspeth locations. He went to great lengths to emphasize his connections to Maspeth.

“My wife attended this very cafeteria in this school,” Whalen said. “We owned a house for 16 years at 78-36 68th road in Maspeth. We also lived on Dry Harbor road. My wife is originally from Ridgewood…We have strong ties to the community.”

Whalen explained that although his family did not partake in cannabis recreationally, his wife used it medicinally to treat her Lupus symptoms.

He then shifted his focus to security, telling the crowd that his store would feature armed security guards and a “scanner test” like one might see in an airport. He also said the store would strictly enforce rules against double-parking, lock up all products in a safe and ensure that no one under 21 entered the store.

Whalen said that according to several different online map softwares, his store would be 608 feet away from the closest school.

“My wife has reached out to six different organizations including the school down on Grand Avenue, and we want to be an active part of the community and have feedback from the community,” he said.

Catherine Mangone, Principal of St. Stan’s, said after the meeting that contrary to Whalen’s statements while presenting to the board, “there was no effort made to speak to us or anyone at my school.”

Whalen addresses the Committee.

The first question from the committee re-centered the discussion on distance regulations.

“Why would you put it so close to St. Stan’s and Martin Luther? What made you choose that location?” committee member Maryann Lattanzio asked.

Whalen said that he attempted to stay as far away from schools as possible, but that locations available were “few and far between” due to what he said was, “larger corporations monopolizing commercial spots.” He switched gears to argue that opening a legal cannabis store would ultimately improve safety in the community and decrease students’ access to the drug.

“The greatest potential here for not having our kids [consume it] is once, you know, all these cartels and what not who’re shipping it in and they bring the gun violence in—once it’s a legal shop, you’ll deteriorate their input financially, you’ll choke them off at the money supply. And so anybody can buy pot…if they’re gonna do it, they’re gonna do it. The kids, though, will be unable to buy at the legal places.”

CB5’s Cannabis Committee Chairman Patrick Trinchese spoke next, listing out the many religious and educational institutions that the location was close to, though not too close by law.

“I just think with all of that surrounding it, it’s just a rough location to put it in,” he said.

He then asked Whalen if he had moved away from the area, to which Whalen replied “No, I live in Forest Hills. 68th Avenue.”

“Why in Maspeth?” Trinchese asked. “Why us?”

“Maspeth, again, is my home,” Whalen said. “No it’s not!” multiple people yelled from the crowd.

After speaking at length about the importance of legal establishments and the difficulty of finding available locations, Whalen emphasized again that “if it’s legal, the kids won’t have access to it.”

Lattanzio responded “I’m not so sure about that,” while laughter and sarcastic comments came from the public.

Later, Whalen was asked how he would ensure that customers wouldn’t walk over to St. Stan’s after purchasing cannabis and smoke in front of the school. Whalen said that as smoking cannabis on the street is illegal, that would be a “police issue”—to yet another bout of loud heckling from the crowd. He added that he could enforce OCM’s regulations if something happened within reach of the store’s external security cameras.

The committee opened the floor to public comments. Mike LoCascio, a resident of Maspeth,  testified first.

Mike LoCasio delivers a warning to Whelan.

“You don’t know me too well. I can rally troops. You don’t want to open that store there,” LoCascio said, to applause from the audience. “I don’t mean to sound out of control, but you guys know what happened with the homeless shelter. I will rally the troops like nobody’s ever seen. Not a single person will walk in that store ever, I promise.”

Charlie Vavruska gave a passionate speech. “Any society that doesn’t protect children will soon face demise,” he shouted.

Elizabeth De la Cruz raised concerns about the proximity of the first store to the McDonalds, where she often takes her two-year-old grandson and sees many young kids hanging out. “Like the other speakers, I beg of you,” she said, addressing the board, “Do not accept this application. We have small children.”

After public comments concluded, the committee voted swiftly to not approve either application.

The committee is set to report to the full board at its monthly meeting on Nov. 8, at Christ The King High School. That night the Community Board will vote on whether to approve or not approve the applications in their recommendation to the State. Ultimately, the final decision about the shops lies in the state’s hands.

Rat Day of Action Bolsters Ridgewood’s War on Rodents

By Charlie Finnerty | [email protected]

Ridgewood community members, business owners and city service workers from various city agencies held an event Oct. 26 to provide information and instructions on best practices to control the neighborhood’s rat population and educate about the city’s anti-rodent initiatives under the Adams administration. City employees demonstrated rat baiting methods and green space management techniques to prevent burrows from forming. The Horticultural Society of New York educated residents and community gardeners on which crops attract and repel rats.

Rat Czar Kathleen Corradi, who oversees and coordinates the city’s cross-agency rat control efforts in her newly-created position, said local-level involvement is crucial to ensure the city’s aggressive new approach to rat management is successful.

“They are hand in glove to me. We’re changing policies at the top level with the goal to take away rats’ access to food, water and shelter, but the acute response in these community partnerships are of the same importance to me because this is the impact New Yorkers are feeling. Building that trust with community, to me, is paramount” Corradi said. “We want to meet people where they live to make sure we’re doing that direct engagement.”

Ricky Simeone, Director of Pest Control for the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, said he is hopeful that the Adams administration’s approach to pest control can make a serious difference in the city’s long history of rampant rat populations. Simeone said the city’s requirement that trash be placed in sealed containers starting next year, rather than left on the sidewalk in bags, will be a critical step to eliminate rat access to food scraps and other waste. The same requirements will soon follow for residential properties as well.

Ricky Simeone advising residents on how to mitigate rat infestations. Photo credit: Charlie Finnerty

“This administration gets it because its number one concern is to address the garbage and the plastic bags out on the street,” Simeone said.

Caroline Bragdon, Director of Neighborhood Interventions for the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, said the Health Department has a dual role of not only enforcing health codes but also educating property owners on how to meet their requirements. Bragdon and Corradi both said mitigation starts with waste management and caring for green spaces where rodents can create burrows and nests.

“What we say at the health department is everyone has a role in pest control,” Bragdon said. “We’re here to show property owners the best and safest things you can do to keep rats off your property. We don’t want people to use a lot of harmful chemicals or pesticides. We want people to take proactive steps to prevent rats.”

Bragdon pointed to the city’s rat academy, a free training for property, business owners and community gardeners offered online and in person, and the rat information portal website at nyc.gov/rats as examples of resources offered by the city to educate and inform residents on mitigation strategies.

“We want communities to be engaged, to be involved, to visit our website and to come to our trainings to help us find a rat-free Queens and a rat-free New York,” Bragdon said.

Department of Health staff hand out resources and fliers to community members. Photo credit: Charlie Finnerty

Executive Director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District Theodore Renz, said his organization was ecstatic to work with the various city agencies to combat rat issues in Ridgewood. Renz has been working with the city since the summer to strategize Ridgewood’s rat mitigation efforts.

“Right now we are exploring possible locations off-site where we can set our bins to get rid of our bags,” Renz said. “We will still have the problem of illegal dumping, but we’re on board to strategize and come up with a reasonable comprehensive plan that’s fair to all stakeholders.”

Flood Mitigation Tops CB5’s Capital Budget Priorities

By Celia Bernhardt | cbernhardt@queensledger

Community Board 5 has voted on a set of priorities for Fiscal Year 2025’s Capital Budget, and flooding mitigation efforts top the list. The board ranked a total of 34 project requests, and four out of the five top-ranked projects focus on strengthening flooding infrastructure. 

This comes on the heels of heavy rainfall in late September that caused historic flooding throughout Queens. 

District 5 is no stranger to these concerns. District Manager Gary Giordano says he remembers basements flooded up to two feet during a heavy storm in August of 2007, bad flooding again in 2012, and, of course, plenty of difficulties in 2021 during Hurricane Ida. 

“It’s certainly gotten worse in recent years,” Giordano said. “And the prospects for the future indicate that we could have more severe storms more often.” 

The first-ranked project requested reads: “Redesign and Reconstruct Sewer System in Portions of CB5Q Area Having Worst Flooding Problems.” 

There are three particularly vulnerable areas in the district, according to Giordano, and they all have one thing in common: they lie at the bottom of a hill in their neighborhood. In Middle Village, this most vulnerable area is along Penelope Avenue between 70th Street and 74th Street. In Maspeth, it is along Calamus Avenue. Community Board 5 successfully advocated for projects expanding sewer capacity in both of these areas after significant floods in the past. This new project request focuses on the third, not-yet-addressed area—77th Avenue in Glendale, between 80th Street and 88th Street. 

Giordano said that if the city moves forward with this priority, “that’ll mean that our three main goals have been achieved”—flood mitigation efforts in those three most affected areas of the district.

“Now, that doesn’t mean to me that they’ll never get flooded again,” Giordano said. “But I think the likelihood is that they will get flooded less often. And when it rains excessively in a short period of time, hopefully they won’t get flooded at all—and if they get water, it’ll be a lot less than they had gotten before the sewer projects.”

“But there’s no guarantee,” Giordano added. “I wish I knew.”

Sidewalks flooding in Maspeth. Photo credit: Charlie Finnerty

Both Maspeth and Middle Village’s past sewer projects cost at least $20 million dollars each.

The second-ranked project request reads “Provide Stormwater Runoff Mitigation.” Specifically, this would mean installing permeable pavement, or additional “rain gardens”—digging out portions of sidewalk and installing gardens to absorb stormwater. Giordano explained that there are hundreds of locations in the district where projects to install these technologies are ongoing, but the project request would entail increasing those efforts. 

The third-ranked project includes multiple action items surrounding the Long Island Railroad and 71st Avenue Bridge and Cooper Avenue underpass, but first mentions “Correct Cooper Avenue Underpass Flooding.” This project would address the underpass’s malfunctioning pump system that is supposed to pump water uphill to a sewage treatment plant.  

The fifth-ranked project reads “Reconstruct Deteriorated Catch Basins and Provide New Catch Basins in the CBQ5 Area,” and would entail replacing weaker brick-and-mortar catch basins with pre-cast concrete ones. 

“I’m not certain of which projects are going to get funded first,” Giordano said. “I think that depends on their findings, and the system, and our portion of Queens on a grander scale.” 

MTA Report Sidelines QueensLink Plan

By Celia Bernhardt | [email protected]

On October 4, the MTA released its 20-year needs assessment and a blow to the QueensLink movement.

The extensive assessment included a section of side-by-side analyses of 25 different proposals to expand, connect, and extend certain parts of the transit system. The Rockaway Beach Branch Reactivation proposal, often referred to as QueensLink, scored low on most of the seven metrics used.

“Reactivating the Rockaway Beach Branch with NYCT service has a high cost and serves a relatively modest number of riders,” the MTA’s evaluation reads. “Compared to other projects, the benefits are average for sustainability and resiliency.”

This comes just a month after a QueensLink rally at City Hall with Queens politicians from both parties voicing their support gave the cause a boost of hope.

The QueensLink plan would reactivate a railway in Southern Queens left defunct for the past 60 years, connecting the Rockaways to Rego Park—where transit into Manhattan, and transfers to other lines, are available. The proposed line would connect passengers with the A, J/Z, EFR, 7, and G lines, as well as with the LIRR. The plan also includes 33 acres of greenspace and bike paths stretching along the path.

Advocates have been campaigning for years to reactivate the rail. Supporters of the plan emphasize that residents of Southern Queens, severely underserved by public transit, currently have some of the longest commutes in the nation.

Assemblyperson Khaleel Anderson, who represents South Ozone Park and part of the Rockaways in Assembly District 31, slammed the transit authority’s evaluation.

“The MTA has failed, yet again, to figure out how to resolve transportation issues that are impacting some of the most vulnerable working class folks in our city,” he said.

Anderson also pointed out that the lack of easy access to the rest of the borough and to Manhattan isolates many Rockaway residents from economic opportunities.

“You’re talking about transportation apartheid,” he said, and emphasized how impactful the rail reactivation would be. “You’re talking about getting people into the city quicker, you’re talking about opening up more economic opportunities for communities like mine that can’t get to Manhattan and so they can’t take that job opportunity…You’re talking about systemic, drastic changes to how people will move about the city.”

QueensLink’s map of what a reactivated Rockaway Beach Branch rail would look like.


In context

An MTA spokesperson said that the document did not constitute a finalized rejection of the QueensLink proposal.

“The 20 year needs assessment lays out what will be needed in the next capital plan, which is the 2025-2029 capital plan. And we’re kind of letting the findings speak for themselves, for everyone to see,” the spokesperson said. “But it’s not a rejection or a confirmation of any project.”

Still, the Rockaway Beach Branch’s relatively low ranking in a competitive batch of proposals makes it clear that the MTA is not interested in pursuing the plan at this time. The highest ranked proposal by far was the Interborough Express, a project that Governor Hochul has long supported.

The MTA spokesperson said that the comparative analysis of 25 proposals was intended to “give the public more of a broad perspective, and an overview.”

“If you live in Queens, you may be thinking of Queens, and not necessarily think, oh, there are things going on in the MetroNorth. I see why there may be priority for doing work [there] rather than [here].”

Andrew Lynch, Chief Design Officer for QueensLink, argued that a strategy where every borough receives some transit expansion would be more holistic. “Every borough deserves something. Queens probably deserves a lot more considering how big it is and the population…but it’s not one versus the other. It’s ‘What does the total picture look like?’”

Larry Penner, a transportation expert, was not shocked by the evaluation.

“The problem is they’re in competition. If you look at the MTA 20-year needs assessment document, there are [many] other groups equally as adamant and as passionate as the QueensLink people are for their particular project.”

Penner also explained that the process of ranking these proposals is rife with political complications.

“A lot of elected officials support projects where they can have ribbon cutting ceremonies and get the support of voters,” he said, and pointed out that the governor, who appoints the MTA’s leadership, has significant sway over such decisions.

Two central issues at hand as the MTA assesses a future for its weakened infrastructure are the threat of severe weather from climate change, and a growing, shifting city population in need of expanded transit options. Ultimately, the document emphasizes that funding for any expansion projects at all remains contingent on the MTA’s process of repairing existing infrastructure.

“As we look ahead 20 years, our most urgent priority is to secure the survival of our existing system by rebuilding its most imperiled infrastructure,” the document reads. “To put it bluntly, unless sufficient resources are made available to address the existing system’s most urgent needs, there cannot be investment in expansion projects.”

Penner, for his part, does not think that QueensLink, nor the Interborough Express, nor any other expansion project should be seriously considered right now.

“It’s definitely not [appropriate] given the tremendous shortfall in safety and state of good repair,” he said.

Queensway in the way

The MTA’s evaluation specifically pointed to QueensWay plans as one reason not to reactivate the train line. A “Special Considerations” section reads: “New York City-owned right-of-way: plans for a linear park along portions of the corridor, creating a challenge for any future transit alternatives.”

The QueensWay plan, a long time competitor to QueensLink, would convert the abandoned rail entirely to parkland, similar to the Highline in Chelsea. In September 2022, Mayor Adams pledged $35 million to the plan—much to the dismay of QueensLink supporters, who argued that moving forward with the park would create an obstacle to ever reactivating the branch for transportation use. Several statements from City Hall spokespeople, elected officials, and MTA officials throughout the following year denied that moving forward with Queensway funding would preclude the revival of the train line.

In a statement following the needs assesment’s release, Rick Horan, Executive Director at QueensLink, said his team had “always been skeptical” of these reassurances. “Today, that skepticism has turned into grave confirmation,” he said in the statement.

Adams announcing $35 million in funding to QueensWay in 2022.

The organization Friends of Queensway provided the following statement: “The objective analysis released in the MTA’s Needs Assessment is consistent with multiple other studies done on rail reactivation over 60 years in concluding that it would be extremely expensive, have little actual impact on mobility as compared to other regional transit projects, and would have negative impacts on the environment and quality of life. The sends a clear message on the best use of the Rockaway Beach Branch line at this time. The parks and trails QueensWay project is ready for implementation and would not harm any effort to reactivate the site for rail in the future should the government decide to do so.”

Data divergence

The MTA’s report came up with contrasting numbers to QueensLink’s: whereas the transit advocacy group stated in a press release that 47,000 daily riders would benefit from the plan (a number they pulled from the MTA’s own 2019 feasibility study of the train route), the MTA now puts that number at 39,000. QueensLink also said that the train would save riders an average of 30 minutes per round trip, while the MTA said only four minutes would be saved. And while QueensLink’s assessment put the estimated cost of the project at $3.5 billion, the MTA listed it as $5.9 billion (a decrease from its 2019 estimate of $8.1 billion, which QueensLink hotly contested).

“There was so little information provided in the needs assessment that we requested background data from the MTA so we have something to analyze,” Horan said. “All we have are conclusions that don’t make sense to us, so unless we get some data so we have some idea as to how these conclusions were reached, we’re really flying blind.”

QueensLink’s own numbers were calculated by TEMS, a transportation consulting firm they commissioned to produce a study in response to the MTA’s also-pessimistic 2019 feasibility study of the train route.

What’s next?

Horan explained that QueensLink has long been asking for the city or state government to pursue an Environmental Impact Statement or Economic Impact Statement about the project, and that it’s still needed. Anderson and Lynch also emphasized the importance of such studies. “Commission a real study,” Anderson said. “Not a study where you have already set it before the pencils are picked up.”

Penner said that pressuring Queens elected officials to channel funds into these studies would be strategic.

“If the QueensLink people want to hold elected officials accountable—any elected official could provide the MTA with seed money to advance the project and go through an environmental review process.”

Anderson argued for increased ferry services and express bus transit from the Rockaway peninsula as an alternative to rail transit.

“If they don’t like QueensLink so much, what is their alternative that people are presenting?” he asked.

Lynch says that despite the MTA’s evaluation, he remains optimistic. “This really doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change our position, it doesn’t change the overall narrative of the MTA’s feelings towards this project.”

“We’re disappointed,” he continued. “But it’s also, like, I’m not surprised at all. The thing that this project has lacked in the past is a political champion, and projects like this don’t get built without those. But the difference between now and, let’s say, five years ago, is that there’s a lot more support in the community, there’s a lot more support politically. And there’s an understanding that it’s a lot more feasible than people thought…we still have a lot of work to do to build more support for this project in the communities and in Albany, and we’re going to continue on that.”

RGMVM Little League still registering players amid prez’s legal troubles

By Matthew Fischetti

[email protected]

The oldest running little league in Queens is not chartered for the upcoming season, due to charges from the Queens District Attorney’s office alleging President Michael Rizzo of stealing from the league’s funds.

The Ridgewood Glendale Middle Village Maspeth (RGMVM) Little League has still been registering kids for the upcoming season, despite the fact that Rizzo is facing a third-degree grand larceny charge. According to the DA’s office, Rizzo allegedly stole $30,000 from the league’s coffers.

In an email obtained exclusively by The Glendale Register, Corey Wright, the regional operations managing director for the central and east region, stated that the charter for the league would be placed on hold due to Rizzo not resigning as president and other board position roles while under investigation for theft from the league.

“Being that your league is not currently chartered for 2022 season, please be aware we do not recognize you [Rizzo] as the President of the league and are confirming at this time that you are not permitted to hold any volunteer position within the league such as board member, officer, manager/coach or any other active volunteer role until the conclusion of the investigation, dismissal, dropped or cleared of any and all charges currently against yourself specific to this matter,” the email reads. 

The email was sent on Feb. 18, but when The Glendale Register went to the registration event held at the RGMVM clubhouse the following day, Mike Rizzo was still helping run the registration for the upcoming season. Rizzo said that he was helping for about an hour as other people involved with the league could not attend the event.

Since then, current members of the RGMVM Little League told The Glendale Register that Rizzo has resigned and Richard Campanella has stepped in as president.

The email also states that “Little League will work with the remaining past officers and newly appointed or elected president to fulfill the chartering process, with [SIC] signing statement of intent to follow all Little League rules and regulations, along with proper reporting processes.”

On the Little League’s website, they provide a financial transparency checklist for individual chapters to follow. Included in the recommendations, it states that treasurers should disclose a monthly financial report to the board, which should be reviewed by an audit committee beforehand and made public through the league website providing a high level of transparency. It also restricts relatives or closely associated individuals from serving as both league president and treasurer.

Former board members who spoke to The Glendale Register under conditions of anonymity said there was no audit committee under Rizzo’s tenure, financial reports were only given yearly, and that he coalesced the responsibilities of treasurer and president into one. 

Nowhere on the RGMVM Little League website can you find public disclosures of the budget.

Campanella, the interim president, said that he and the rest of the board will be following all the recommendations and guidelines provided by the national organization to make sure there is no question of any impropriety. Campanella also said that New York Councilman Robert Holden recommended that Rizzo and the rest of the board step down.

Holden’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

At the registration event, The Glendale Register asked Rizzo about whether the league charges for the series of cars, shipping containers, and even a boat parked in the lot behind the fields. 

“ We [RGMVM little league] have a couple of people who opt-in and give us a donation every year,” Rizzo responded. He did not give follow-up answers about the specifics of the arrangement.

A representative from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), the agency that rents out the city-owned land, told the The Glendale Register that the league would have to get permission from the city in order to charge for parking and that they have not done so. 

Members of the RGMVM little league told the The Glendale Register that registration has been low this year but would not quantify details. While they speculated that some of the registration drop-off is due to the allegations concerning Rizzo’s tenure, they also expect numbers to increase as the weather improves and will be hosting registration a week later than usual to try and fill the spots. 

Albert Ramos, a parent who registered their child for the upcoming season, was not aware of the allegations when asked. But after learning of them he said it didn’t affect his decision as Rizzo has not been convicted and his primary focus is getting his kid into little league.

Rizzo’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 15. 

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