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And the Jo Caines Award Goes to . . . Jo Caines!

May 25, 2000|LYNN O'DELL

Jo Caines is an old hand at picking up awards--the one she is scheduled to receive at tonight's Aristeia Awards gala in Newport Beach will be her 60th. But this one, KOCE's first major service award, is special.

The Jo Caines Expanding Minds Award bears her name.

"It's so funny to get awards for doing things you really enjoy. I get so much out of just doing it. And to get something from what is sort of like your family, that's really special," said Caines, who has been a director at the public television station for nearly 21 years.

KOCE, part of the Coast Community College District, decided to establish an awards program and "We could think of no one in the county who has done more during the past three decades to open minds and help others than Jo," said Mel Rogers, KOCE president. They decided not only to honor her but to name the major award for her.

Prominent in community service leadership, Caines currently sits on eight boards of directors and belongs to 33 other organizations, agency committees and commissions. She was the first African-American woman to serve on the Orange County Grand Jury (1969) and she helped start the Orange County Fair Housing Council.

Caines, 71, of Orange, started out as assistant director of community affairs at the fledgling station but quickly went on the air when a woman co-host was needed for a call-in special on women's issues.

Since then, she's received an Emmy nomination for a special she produced and has been a producer, co-producer and executive producer of 11 KOCE shows. And she's taken on added duties that have made her job title so long "it barely fits on the card," she joked.

As director of community relations and outreach, Caines helped start Friends of KOCE, organized a program of backstage visits for community members who get to preview specials and has been traveling to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., as legislative liaison on the issue of how public television stations can go digital without going broke.

Caines said her life has not been without adversity but "I can't complain. And I won't. Because tomorrow is another day and another adventure."

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