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Radio Executive to Receive Award

Leadership: Camarillo broadcaster Alfredo Plascencia is one of seven to be honored by Latino advocacy group.


The work ethic came early to Alfredo Plascencia.

First there was the example set by his father, a Mexican immigrant who worked long hours in the citrus orchards of Ventura County. Then came his own early work experience cleaning up construction sites, starting when he was in high school.

So when the opportunity came in 1991 to become a partner in Oxnard's Spanish-language Radio Lazer (KXLM-FM, 102.9), he didn't think twice about the time he would have to put in--seven days a week--to make the station a success.

Within a year it was one of the highest-rated radio stations in the county, and it has since become a vital link for news and information for the Spanish-speaking community.

As a business leader, the Camarillo father of three went on to help launch Destino 2000, a charitable endowment that provides grants for Ventura County groups serving the Latino community.

For his achievements, Plascencia will be honored next month by El Concilio del Condado de Ventura, the county's largest Latino advocacy group.

"I think it's a reflection of years and years of hard work, but also of giving back to the community," said Plascencia, 41, now sole owner of Radio Lazer and 10 other stations from San Bernardino to San Luis Obispo. "I think it just comes with being involved with the community."

Plascencia is one of seven people set to receive El Concilio's leadership awards, presented annually to people who have demonstrated a commitment to volunteerism and to enriching the county's Latino community.

The awards ceremony is to begin at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center.

This year's honorees include:

* Youth leader Gloria Michelle Chinea, a senior at Oxnard High School and president of the school's Associated Student Body. As junior class president, Chinea raised thousands of dollars for school activities. She also has participated in the President's Leadership Conference and was invited to take part in the Presidential Classroom program in Washington.

* Santa Paula's Joe Duran, business representative of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. In the last 20 years, Duran has served in numerous positions with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and as a delegate to the Ventura County Building and Trades Council. In 1994, he was the first Latino to be elected president of the union's Local 150.

* Oxnard School District Facilities Director Sal Godoy is being recognized for his contributions toward building a community gym and new elementary school campuses in El Rio.

The Oxnard native, who earned a bachelor's degree in architecture from USC in 1975 and a master's in the same field from UC Berkeley two years later, served as facilities director in El Rio for five years. He said he was gratified to be recognized for his work in obtaining construction money for the rapidly growing district.

"It reassured me that facilities are an important part of education," he said. "I've seen what the needs are of the youngsters in our community, and I've worked really hard to really ring the bell for underprivileged youth."

* Oxnard housing official Karl Lawson is being honored for his contributions to numerous "get-out-the-vote" campaigns and census outreach efforts. Lawson, who will receive El Concilio's community service award, also was a key member of Ventura County's Redistricting Task Force, a coalition created to ensure Latino political representation.

* Ventura County Probation Officer Peter Martinez will receive El Concilio's award for leadership in the arts for his efforts to boost the profile of Latino artists and musicians.

A member of the board of Oxnard's Carnegie Art Museum and president of its fund-raising arm, Martinez has been instrumental in showcasing the work of prominent Chicano artists. He said that has been especially significant for youngsters in the largely Latino community, who through school tours and other programs are exposed to a world they knew little about.

"The truth of the matter is, most children in this community are not going to be able to travel to a major museum," he said, "so why not bring a major museum to this community?"

* Dr. Miguel Cervantes is being recognized for his achievements in health care, but he said he considers the El Concilio award a reflection on the good work his clinic has done.

In 1991, he helped launch Las Islas Family Clinic in south Oxnard, overseeing a staff of doctors and employees who treat more than 50,000 patients a year.

"It's a great honor," said Cervantes, who also helps teach young doctors studying in the county hospital's family practice program. "But certainly it's an award for Las Islas as a whole, rather than for me personally."

Cervantes comes from a farm worker family--his father worked the fields for nearly 40 years and his mother still works part time packing peppers. And he spent many hours working the fields himself.

A straight-A student at Camarillo High School, Cervantes melded long hours of study and government aid to get through UCLA's undergraduate program, then its vaunted medical school, before entering the nationally recognized family practice residency program at Ventura County Medical Center.

He was nominated for the award by a former clinic colleague.

"It was quite a surprise," he said. "It's nice, but I don't know what I did to deserve it."

In addition to individual awards, the Latino advocacy group for the first time will present a President's Award. The inaugural winners are the Filipino-American Council and the Ventura County Community Foundation.

To make reservations for the awards ceremony or for information, call El Concilio at 486-9777.

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