Seniors told they can’t have “potlucks” at St. Florian center

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Turmoil is surrounding a senior center in the Shoals.

On Thursday morning, the parking lot at the St. Florian Senior Center sat empty. Wednesdays are normally the big day at the center and have been for years. It’s when dozens of people bring a covered dish and everyone sits around eating and chatting.

“Well, it’s a place we go once a week to enjoy meals and fellowship and stuff,” stated Horace Gray.

“It’s a good way to have a good lunch without having to cook that much,” explained Frances Kasmeier.

But much to their surprise that has come to an end. The signs taped to the doors clearly state the Lauderdale County Health Department has told town leaders no meals are allowed to be served until further notice. And health department administrators say they have not given the town any such notice. Then why the note?

WHNT News 19 reached out to appointed Mayor Pam Stumpe. She called us back and quickly stated it was a personnel issue and she wouldn’t answer any questions. When asked why the note on the door then, she said she couldn’t comment and hung-up.

“I don’t know; this is a bad situation,” said Gray.

The personnel issue, did Mayor Stumpe mean the firing of long-time Senior Center Director Deb Hart earlier this week?

“Yes. I think that was all uncalled for. Very unfair,” explained Frances and Chip Kasmeier.

The Lauderdale County Health Department tells WHNT News 19 unless the center is charging for meals or selling memberships to eat they don’t need a permit to have meals there.

We’ll continue to press for answers from town leaders in St. Florian on the decision to stop allowing potluck lunches. WHNT News 19 is also digging to find out why town leaders terminated director Deb Hart.