Tag Archives: Michael Acosta

Village focuses on unkempt residential properties

Officials will use encouragement, enforcement
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Maple Park officials intend to address the issue of residential property appearance, having received complaints about yards with vehicles parked on them or that are strewn with junk or weeds.

“We are going to try to beautify Maple Park,” Police Chief Michael Acosta said Tuesday. “It’s a quality of life issue.”

The village will start the process by simply talking to homeowners about making improvements.

“We’re going to try to get people to voluntarily keep up their properties,” Acosta said.

In the future, the village will conduct a village-wide canvass to determine what properties need attention and may be in violation of village ordinances. The Village Board decided Monday to have the village building inspector, International Codes Consultants and Inspections, Inc. (ICCI), of Oswego, do the canvass at a cost of up to $800.

ICCI will provide the village with a list of addresses that are not in compliance with the village code. Violators who do not respond to a request from the village to comply could be fined, and then prosecuted for continued noncompliance, Village President Kathy Curtis said.

The building inspector and Acosta will work as a team on this compliance/enforcement process, Village President Kathy Curtis said.

Police Department will have new digs

Larger space to allow for interview room
by Martha Quetsch
Maple Park—Maple Park Police Department will move to larger quarters as soon as the police chief and a village trustee spruce up the space in the Civic Center.

The Police Department currently occupies a suite with three small offices on the east side of the Civic Center.

The first week Police Chief Michael Acosta worked in Maple Park, he began to clean and organize those rooms. Then, Trustee Patricia Lunardon offered him the option of moving the department to a larger, four-room space across the hall. Those empty rooms previously were occupied by daycare and arts programs.

Acosta saw the move as a chance to improve the department. He said the bigger space will allow for a police reception area and an interview room, which the Police Department currently lacks.

Acosta hopes the department will be able to move by March 15, after some improvements are made to the new space.

The project cost is expected to be less than $600, including having the carpet cleaned; he said the reason for the minimal cost is that he and Lunardon will do the painting that the rooms need.

“Starting tomorrow, I will be wearing my painting clothes to work this week,” Acosta said Wednesday.

Lunardon also painted the board room and a village office recently.

“That’s a great thing about this community,” Acosta said. “Village trustees put their blood and sweat into improving it.”

Earthquake shakes the area

Updated Feb. 11, 2010 at 10:53 a.m.
by Martha Quetsch
Brad Hruza of Elburn said that the 4 a.m. earthquake Wednesday was a rude awakening.

“The house didn’t just shake, it felt like it was swaying in the wind,” Hruza told The Elburn Herald. “It lasted about 10 seconds, and I thought I was dreaming until I realized everyone in the house woke up.”

Hruza said some things were falling off shelves and his computer desk.

“It was scary for a bit there,” Hruza said.

Lights in the houses in his neighborhood immediately began going on, as the earthquake woke residents. By 4:10, Hruza was on the U.S. Geographical Survey website, which already had confirmed an earthquake had occurred just before 4 a.m. in northern Illinois.

The USGS first reported that the earthquake had a magnitude of 4.3, but later in the morning stated that the magnitude actually was 3.8.

The USGS estimated that nearly 11 million people felt “a light shaking” during the quake.

Maple Park Police Chief Michael Acosta was abruptly awakened in his Sugar Grove home at about 4 a.m. by the earthquake. He said he heard a loud thunder and crumbling sound and first thought that a car had rammed into his house.

“It felt like the whole east-side walls had moved,” Acosta said.

Acosta said some Maple Park residents initially thought that a train had derailed in the village. No one reported any property damage or injury from the earthquake.

The epicenter originally was reported in Sycamore, Ill., but later in the morning the USGS reported it to be just south of Pingree Grove, Ill. The epicenter’s depth was about three miles.

Elburn and Countryside Fire Department received several calls from residents about the earthquake, but no reports of damage or injury.

Ben Draper contributed to this article.

U.S. Geological Survey links:
Home >>
“Did you feel it?” report >>
Event website >>
Google map of epicenter:

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IIlinois quakes
The largest Illinois earthquake ever recorded was on Nov. 9, 1968, in southern Illinois, measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake downed chimneys, cracked plaster, broke windows and overturned tombstones.

Earthquakes occur when an abrupt easing of strain occurs on a geologic fault, causing movement on the earth’s surface. The most common measure of the size of an earthquake is its magnitude-a measure of the amount of energy it releases within the earth.

Earthquakes with a magnitude of 3 to 4 occur about once a year in Illinois. Larger earthquakes are more rare in the state, approximately once in four years for a quake with a magnitude of 4 to 5 and once in 20 years for one with a magnitude of 5-6.
Source: U.S. Geological Survey

Officials praise new chief for first month on job

Acosta making improvements to department
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Maple Park’s new police chief, Michael Acosta, spent much of his time during his first month of employment making initial improvements to help him do his job.

“There are a lot of things the Police Department is behind on,” Acosta told the Village Board Tuesday.

Acosta said the department did not have basic fingerprinting equipment.

“They (previous Maple Park Police Department leaders) were under the assumption that the county would do fingerprinting (if needed),” Acosta said.

Nor did the department have a police interview room, which Acosta is going to establish.

Acosta already has prepared a “very thorough budget” of proposals for the Police Department, Village President Kathy Curtis said.

“I am impressed,” Curtis said.

Acosta and his officers also have cleaned out the community room to prepare for events such as resident forums, officers reading with children, and puppet shows to foster a positive image of police.

Since taking office Jan. 6, Acosta also has spent many afternoons driving through town, stopping to talk to local business owners and residents to encourage them to feel free to talk with him about any concerns they might have.

In the future, he will have more time to patrol, he said.

“Right now I am doing other things, like pulling out carpet and throwing things away,” Acosta said.

Trustee Mark Delaney said it is apparent that Acosta also is beginning to improve policing in the village.

“It’s nice to see the officers near the bus stops and stop signs early in the morning … it’s a nice change,” Delaney said.

Acosta worked with the Kane County Sheriff’s Department for more than 30 years, serving as Commander of Administration, and Commander of Kane County Major Crimes Task Force.

Before hiring Acosta, Maple Park had not had an officer in charge since officer Chuck Slater’s resignation in September.

New MP police chief on board

Acosta to promote positive community, police relationship
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Michael Acosta was sworn in as Maple Park’s new police chief during Tuesday’s Village Board meeting. The former Kane County Sheriff’s Department officer is looking forward to building a positive relationship with village officials, police officers and residents.

“It’s a three-pronged wheel,” Acosta said.

Acosta said he will work with the Village Board on the Police Department budget, and on policies and procedures. Among his goals is to add more officers to his squad.

Acosta acknowledged that building the department will be a process.

“Baby steps,” he said.

Acosta now oversees a department of five part-time Maple Park police officers. He plans to use his past experience in law enforcement to be a mentor to them, particularly to his younger officers.

Within the community, Acosta wants residents, especially children, to know that he and his officers are approachable and accessible. With that in mind, he plans to start several programs as soon as possible. One is a police-hosted movie night at the Community Center, complete with popcorn. Another is Storytime with a Cop at the Maple Park Library.

In addition, Acosta said he will offer a monthly forum that village residents can attend to voice concerns or bring neighborhood issues to his attention.

“I won’t always know what needs addressing unless I have this type of contact with residents,” Acosta said.

During the past week, Acosta stopped by at businesses in the village to introduce himself.

“I told them that they could call me at any time,” he said.

Top-cop background

Maple Park’s new police chief, Michael Acosta, retired from the Kane County Sheriff’s Department in 2007. During his 31 years with the Sheriff’s Department, he served as Commander of Administration, and Commander of Kane County Major Crimes Task Force. Acosta serves on the Sugar Grove Police Commission.

Maple Park Police Department operated without an officer in charge since officer Chuck Slater’s resignation in September. Slater had been officer in charge since June 2008, when village officials decided against renewing former Chief Steve Yahnke’s contract.

Sheriff’s Dept. veteran named MP police chief

Michael Acosta fills position vacant since 2008
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Maple Park officials met the goal they set two months ago to hire a police chief by early December, filling the position that has been vacant since June 2008.

On Tuesday, after a closed Village Board discussion, the board voted to hire Kane County Sheriff’s Department veteran Michael F. Acosta. He will be sworn into office during the Village Board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

During the interview process, Acosta indicated that he would like to start programs in village that would foster a positive environment between the Police Department and the community, Village President Kathy Curtis said.

Curtis stated in a press release Wednesday the reason the board chose Acosta to lead the village Police Department:
“The ability to work well and positively interact with our residents was an important criteria in our hiring decision. We are excited to have Mike join the village and look forward to working with him as the new leader of the Police Department,” she said.

Acosta retired from the Kane County Sheriff’s Department in 2007. During his 31 years with the Sheriff’s Department, he served in various positions, such as Commander of Administration, Commander of Kane County Major Crimes Task Force (a multi-agency task force that responds to violent crime scenes in Kane County) and Commander of K-CART (a multi-agency task force that responds to accidents that involve serious injury or death).

Acosta serves on the Sugar Grove Police Commission and is a member of several law enforcement-related organizations.

The Maple Park Police Department has operated without an officer in charge since Officer Chuck Slater’s resignation in September. Slater had been officer in charge since June 2008, when village officials decided against renewing former Chief Steve Yahnke’s contract.

The full-time police chief position will pay an annual salary of $48,800, plus a $600 medical stipend per month.

Acosta will oversee a department of five part-time police officers, and possibly more in the future if the village carries out its plan to hire additional officers.

New chief’s ideas
During his interview with Maple Park officials, new Police Chief Michael Acosta said in the position he will make himself accessible to the community and would like to implement the following programs:

• Monthly Saturday morning
“Coffee with the Chief and Officers”
• Kid Safety Programs such as Bike Safety,
Stranger Danger, Playground Safety
• The Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program
(teaches children in pre-K through
third grade important steps to take
if they find a gun)
• Cops and Kids Movie Night
• Read a Story With a Cop at the
Maple Park Library
• Neighborhood Watch