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Woodbury Musician Uses Dollar General Decision to Raise Environmental Awareness

Sweetcake Mountain mandolin player Alan Zinser performs at an event in 2017. (file photo)

WOODBURY – As a personal response to the town’s decision to allow construction of a Dollar General store in town, a Woodbury resident is using his musical talent to raise awareness of environmental causes.

Alan Zinser and his band, Sweetcake Mountain, have added environmental awareness to his monthly “Bluegrass Sunday” shows, which are held once a month at Woodbury Brewing Company. Zinser has invited local non-profits to “co-host” these shows, and the band has donated $100 after the shows to the co-host of the month.

“This was a personal reaction to the decision of the Woodbury Zoning Commission to approve the Dollar General application,” said Zinser, Sweetcake Mountain’s mandolin player and an administrator for the Facebook group Woodbury Residents Against Dollar General. “It was such a shock to me that I resolved to do something – anything – to try to make Woodbury more aware and resilient against the drip-drip-drip incursions that are slowing changing Woodbury for the worse.”

Zinser started an online and paper petition in the fall of 2018 to “Stop developers from building a Dollar General store on top of or proximate to an open dump which poses risks to vulnerable wetlands and the town aquifer.” The petition was signed by nearly 1,000 residents.

The zoning commission approved the Dollar General project, with 77 conditions, in January. Ground has not been broken on the project, which is on the site of a former dump. Zinser has started a new petition to ask the Town of Woodbury to take special care to monitor and enforce all 77 conditions of approval.

This is the second year of Bluegrass Sunday at Woodbury Brewing Company, and the first year that it has included local environmental causes. So far, the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition and Flanders Nature Center have been beneficiaries of Bluegrass Sundays. On April 14, it will be hosted by the Rivers Alliance of Connecticut.

“We wanted to celebrate and strengthen our bonds to the community by inviting local environment organizations to co-host in a warm and welcoming venue,” Zinser said.

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