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Video, injuries, motive tie man to arson, complaint says

Surveillance video, injuries and outspoken opposition to a sex offender moving into the neighborhood are what tie a Cottage Grove man to an arson case, according to a criminal complaint.

Russell A. Speigle, 50, appeared in court Thursday on a charge of arson related to a Feb. 22 fire at 4721 Gaston Circle in the town of Cottage Grove. The home was to be the home of a sex offender and had been burned in December in another suspected arson case.

According to the complaint, deputies had placed infrared trail cameras around the property after the first arson. Those cameras showed someone carrying two gas containers and kicking in the front door of the house before the fire. The man was in the home for about six minutes before an explosion blew out windows facing the cameras outside.

The cameras show the man seen leaving the home after the explosion and fire inside the house, according to the complaint.

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Cottage Grove to consider ordinance against housing sex offenders

Residents of Cottage Grove asked its town board Monday night to consider an ordinance against allowing sex offenders to live inside their community, and members unanimously agreed.

The request comes after 40-year-old Howard Nyberg, a registered sex offender, was slated to move into a home at 4721 Gaston Circle. That home was destroyed in two fires that took place within three months. Cottage Grove resident Russell Speigle, 50, was arrested for alleged arson in the case but has not been charged yet.

Murali Kudipudi, a Gaston Circle resident who lives next to the residence set to house Nyberg, has spearheaded efforts against his move-in. Kudipudi has three children, all under the age of 8.

Chefs will bring their secrets on southwestern cooking to Monona Public Library

Local Madison restaurants Tex Tubb's Taco Palace and Eldorado Grill will send their chefs to Monona's Public Library to share their cooking tips in the next installment of the library's seasonal chefs program. 

Wednesday at 6 p.m. Scott Glendening and Taylor Anderson will demonstrate techniques on how to make southwestern food at home. Attendees can also look forward to free samples, along with menu ideas and recipes.

Man accused in fire at future home of sex offender released, charges not filed

The man accused of burning down a Cottage Grove home before a convicted sex offender could move in appeared in court Thursday.

Russell A. Speigle, 50, was in court for a bond hearing, but no charges have been officially filed.

Prosecutors asked for a $500 cash bond, but Speigle’s attorney claimed his client is not a flight risk, and that he was in Muscoda visiting his parents when he was arrested Monday night.

“He had been in custody two days, not free to leave. He didn’t voluntarily admit himself and yet, four days later, there’s no criminal complaint because they don’t have enough facts upon which to charge him,” Speigle’s attorney, Bruce Rosen, said.

The judge agreed, and released Speigle on a signature bond Thursday afternoon.

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Surveillance image shows man with gas cans near planned home of sex offender

A Cottage Grove man has been arrested in connection with the arson in the town of Cottage Grove at a home intended for a registered sex offender.

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office said fire crews were called to 4721 Gaston Circle in the town of Cottage Grove at 7:33 p.m. Sunday and found flames coming from the home when they arrived.

The house was the target of a suspected arsonist on Dec. 8. In that fire, the home sustained $90,000 in damage. It was recently, but is now considered a total loss after the latest fire.

Russell A. Speigle, 50, became a person of interest early in the investigation, officials said. After the second fire, detectives went to his residence on King Drive to speak with him. Detectives then learned he had left town shortly after talking with him.

Home burns second time, arson suspected

Arson is suspected at a house in Cottage Grove after the second fire there since December.

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office said fire crews were called to 4721 Gaston Circle in the town of Cottage Grove at 7:33 p.m. Sunday and found flames coming from the home when they arrived. Power in nearby homes was also affected.

The house was the target of a suspected arsonist on Dec. 8. In that fire, the home sustained $90,000 in damage. It was recently repaired and is now considered a total loss.

“We have detectives that specialize in fire investigation and are with state investigators and the evidence they saw last night definitely pointed to arson,” said Elise Schaffer, spokesperson for the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.

The house was to be the future home of a convicted sex offender, 40-year-old Howard Nyberg. Nyberg is currently being held at a supervised living facility in Mauston. He pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault of a child in 1994.

Monona Grove wins WIAA swimming title

Freshman Ben McDade won two freestyle events to lead Monona Grove to the WIAA State Division Two boys swimming championship at the UW Natatorium Friday night.

McDade won the 200 and 500 freestyle races and swam the third leg of MG's winning 400 Freestyle relay team.

Whitewater's Benny Liang won the 100 yard breaststroke out of heat one and also was part of the Whippets' state champion 200 yard medley relay team.

Grafton's Bailey Bodart was a double winner taking the 50 yard freestyle and 100 yard freestyle titles.

It was Monona Grove's second state team title in three years. McFarland finished second.

WIAA State Boys Division Two Swimming Team Results

1. Monona Grove   309

2. McFarland        267

3. Shorewood        213

4. Nicolet                200

5. Ashwaubenon     157

T6. Whitewater         143

T6. Grafton             143

8. Edgewood         133

9. Milton                  97