Panora City Council learns about insurance increases, holds first reading on water rate hike

By Rich Wicks | Times Vedette

The Panora City Council met in regular session on Feb. 26. Chris Arganbright, representing Bryton Insurance, addressed the council about insurance changes regarding the various coverages the city maintains.

“Insurance is distressed climate in Iowa right now,” Arganbright said. “Since the derecho of 2020 kicked off all kinds of wind and hail events that we’ve had since then, we are now in the same category as Florida and California.”

She went on to explain that because of this, wind/hail damage deductibles are rising. In general, deductible on buildings are going to 1% of valuation, although there is the option, in some cases, of “buying down” coverage to essentially obtain a lower deductible.

The good news, according to Arganbright, is that because the city had relatively few claims, the city is seeing a 4.5% overall increase in premiums rather than the 10% to 15% that had been expected.

The council approved Resolution 24-06, setting a public hearing on April 8 at 5:30 p.m. at Panora City Hall to hear comments regarding the proposed FY 2024-2025 property tax levy.

There was discussion about Resolution 24-07 regarding proposed pay changes for city employees. The resolution states that city employees (other than some exceptions noted) will receive a 5% pay increase effective July 1, 2024. The council approved the resolution.

The council held a first reading and discussion of proposed Ordinance 352, which would increase water service charges. The proposed ordinance would result in a monthly bill increase of $2.80 for a typical household using 3,000 gallons of water monthly. No action was taken at this time.

The council approved a Special (5-day) Class C Alcohol License for Lucky Wife Wine Slushies T9, effective April 24-28, for the planned craft show at the Community Center to be hosted by Julie Maddox. The council also approved an annual Class C Alcohol license for outdoor services for Pedal-In.

The next regular meeting will be March 11 at 5:30 p.m. The public is welcome. Interested persons may attend in person or electronically by visiting the website or by phone 1-312-757-3121 (Access Code 295-099-701, Audio PIN 220#).

Guthrie Center City Council hears housing project, insurance updates

By Rich Wicks | Times Vedette

The Guthrie Center City Council heard an update on the city’s housing project status at the Feb. 26 meeting. Councilmember Ian Steensen and Don Beardsley told of the ongoing efforts to promote affordable housing in the city.

City Clerk Kris Arrasmith informed the council that the city is awaiting information on any changes to the city’s insurance rates for the upcoming fiscal year. She added that an expected rate hike has been budgeted.

“We’re budgeting about a 20% increase in insurance,” Arrasmith said.

Regarding the process for budgeting, Arrasmith said the city is now required to hold a separate public hearing. The date and times will be announced and published soon.

Arrasmith informed the council that staff at the public library are pursuing a Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) grant.

The council’s next regular meeting is set for Monday, March 11 at 5:30 p.m. The public is welcomed.

Guthrie County supervisors hear updates from advisory council on EMS service

By Rich Wicks | Times Vedette

During the Feb. 27 meeting of the Guthrie County Board of Supervisors, the supervisors heard an update on the progress of the EMS Advisory Council’s efforts to find an agreement regarding the various services and municipalities that would be involved in the proposed county-wide service. County Health Director Jotham Arber shared the efforts of the council to develop a proposal.

“When we try to sell this to Guthrie County residents, we want to be sure that we put in there that this isn’t just the county giving cities money,” said Arber. “This is the county asking for services to be delivered and holding the service providers to account for every tax dollar… and in exchange, Guthrie County residents are receiving quality services that are reduced in timeframe that allow our EMS professionals to save lives.”

The advisory council is proposing a levy of 75 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation. No formal action was taken at this time. If the supervisors decide on such a levy proposal, it will need to go to the voters to approve or reject.

The committee also suggested sending out a Request for Proposals (RFP) as the best way to get information on how the existing EMS services could cooperate to meet the service needs of the county.

The supervisors chose to schedule time to dig deeper into the EMS issue at the March 5 meeting.

As part of the consent agenda, the supervisors approved a liquor license for Shootout Saloon LLC and a conservation claim for Hicklin Powersports LLC.

A budgetary work session will be held on Thursday, Feb. 29 at 1:30 p.m. The next regular meeting of the supervisors will be Tuesday, March 5. The public is welcome. Attendees may participate in person or by calling 323-792-6123 and inputting conference ID 547029216#.

Panorama takes on Grundy Center in round 1 of state basketball tournament 

By Cyote Williams | Times Vedette

The No. 2 seeded Panthers (23-1) hope to keep their outstanding season going against the No. 7 seed Grundy Center (21-1) in the first round of the 2A IGHSAU state basketball tournament tomorrow, Feb. 28 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines at 10 a.m.

Tickets to the game can be purchased on the Iowa Events Center website here.

To watch from home, check out the IGHSAU livestream here.

The IGHSAU social media accounts will be posting updates of the final scores on X and Facebook.

The tale of the tape

Both of these teams have dominated their regular season competition up until this point, but one more so than the other. Panorama’s average point differential in games this season is a staggering 30.4, while Grundy Center’s is 13.0. While winning games by double digits on average isn’t anything to scoff at, there’s a big difference between 30 and 13.

Part of that difference can be attributed to Panorama’s stellar offensive play this season. The Panthers 62.4 points per game rank fourth across all 2A teams. They get to those 62 points efficiently as well. The Panthers rank ninth in 2A for effective field goal percentage.

The Panorama defense has also been great at blocking shots and forcing turnovers this season, with the Panthers achieving seventh in steals with 15.8 and fifth in blocks with 5.1 in 2A.

While all these stats do favor Panorama, what matters most is winning games, and Grundy Center made the state tournament by doing plenty of that. They beat Nodaway Valley in the region 8 final to qualify for the state tournament.

Players to watch


  • Tyme Boettcher: 19.9 PPG / 7.4 RPG / 3.6 APG
  • Jaidyn Sellers: 14.5 PPG / 8.8 RPG / 2.9 BPG / 2.3 SPG
  • Mia Waddle: 9.5 PPG / 4.5 APG

Grundy Center

  • Carlie Willis: 12.9 PPG / 7.5 RPG
  • Ellery Luhring: 9.8 PPG / 6.8 RPG / 2.6 APG
  • Lucy Lebo: 8.1 PPG / 2.6 APG 

Funeral home business is guided by helping others

The family-owned Twigg Funeral Home has been in business since August 2000. This is the Panora location; there also is a funeral home in Guthrie Center. Curtis Twigg oversees the Panora location, and his brother, Craig, manages the Guthrie Center location.

Twiggs seek to lighten the burdens of people when they are at their weakest and provide the support they need.

By Susan Thompson | Panora Times

The family-owned Twigg Funeral Home, with locations in Guthrie Center and Panora, began in August 2000. That’s when Doug and Kathy Twigg purchased the Beidelman Funeral Home. 

Doug Twigg graduated from the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science in 1969 and received his funeral director license in October 1970. He worked for funeral homes in Estherville, Clarksville, Keokuk and Waterloo, then spent 16 years managing Bruce’s Funeral Home in Fort Dodge before purchasing the Beidelman Funeral Home.

Soon, their oldest son, Curtis, joined the business. Doug and Kathy lived at the Guthrie Center funeral home, while Curtis, his wife, Becky, and their two daughters moved into the funeral home in Panora.

“During high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” Curtis says. “But during my senior year, I started thinking the funeral business might be something I would be interested in. I started washing cars, vacuuming and cleaning at the funeral home Dad managed in Fort Dodge. Eventually, Dad bought me a suit, and I started helping with funerals.”  

After high school, Twigg started taking courses in a pre-mortuary science program at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge. He and Becky married in August of 1991. In 1992, they moved to Houston, where he enrolled in the Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service for a year-long program.  

The couple returned to Iowa in 1993, and Twigg served an internship at McLaren’s Funeral Home in West Des Moines. 

“After a year, I received my funeral director’s license and stayed at McLaren’s for another year before we returned to Fort Dodge, and I started working for my dad in September of 1995,” he says. 

The formation of the Twigg Funeral Home was something both Curtis and his father wanted. 

“We were tired of working for a corporation and wanted to run our own funeral homes the way we thought they should be run,” Curtis says. “Our goal has always been to lighten the burdens of people when they are at their weakest and give them the support they need.”

“I chose this business because I wanted to help people during the worst time of their lives with a death of a loved one,” Curtis says. “I enjoy helping people in general. Now being in small communities in and around Panora and Guthrie Center, we know the people we are serving and appreciate the opportunity to help them.”

In October 2010, Doug and Kathy’s other son, Craig, joined the family business and made his home at the Guthrie Center funeral home. He graduated from the mortuary science program at San Antonio College in 2005 and worked in funeral homes in Waterloo, Dallas, Texas, and San Diego, California, before moving to Guthrie Center. Doug retired two years later and passed away in June 2019.

Curtis Twigg is president of the business with Craig as vice president. Their mother, Kathy, helps with visitations, funerals, answering phones and delivering death notices to area stores. Becky has been involved since the business began, but Curtis says, in the early years, her main job was raising the couple’s two daughters. 

“Now that they are grown, she decided she wanted to help us out more with visitations, services and wherever needed,” he says.

The Twigg Funeral Home website ( includes recent obituaries plus a wealth of information on funeral service options and advance planning. 

“People sometimes don’t think about how pre-planning one’s own services will help their children or other survivors make arrangements after they pass away,” Twigg says. “The best thing to do is tell someone what type of services you would want. Any information will help the survivors.

“Whether it be a burial, cremation, memorial, celebration of life, visitation, graveside service and more, that’s what we are here for, to help with guidance into whatever services the family wants,” he says. 

Twigg says the number of people who choose cremation is growing. 

“I’ve been licensed for 30 years, and cremation has gained in popularity, perhaps for financial reasons or the person just wanted something simple,” he says. “Most families still choose to have some sort of service, either a visitation, memorial service or celebration of life. We can either arrange to bury the cremains in the cemetery, or families can take the cremains home.”

Twigg recommends people write down vital statistical information for themselves or for loved ones who may not have done any preplanning. 

“We use that information for the death certificate and also for the obituary,” he says. “I’ve had some people write their own obituary before they die. People who want to pre-plan also can call us and we can help them go through everything.”  

Services can be paid for in advance, as part of the pre-planning process. 

“We place the money in an irrevocable burial trust at the local bank, and it stays in that account until that person passes away,” Twigg says. “Another option is if the person has life insurance, they can make the funeral home the beneficiary, or we can assign a portion of that policy to pay for their services.”

Being involved in their communities is important to the Twigg family members. Curtis is a volunteer firefighter with the Panora Fire Department. 

“I joined in 2005, and I’m currently the president and one of the assistant fire chiefs,” he says. “If I hadn’t chosen to be a funeral director, I would be a paid firefighter somewhere. It’s another way I’m helping people, and that’s what I enjoy doing.”

Curtis also is a member of the Panora Lions Club and the Panora Masonic Lodge. Craig is a member of the Guthrie Center Lions Club and the Guthrie Center Fire Department. 

Does Twigg think preplanning might make a good 2024 New Year’s resolution?  

“I feel the most important thing is to tell your family what you want if something happens to you,” he says. “I’ve had many families tell me they have no clue what type of services their loved one wanted. People don’t like to talk about death, but, unfortunately, it’s something that’s going to happen to all of us.”

Shown left to right are members of the Twigg family, including Curtis and Becky Twigg; their daughters, Mathison and Morgan; Kathy Twigg and Craig Twigg.