Category Archives: Community news

Additional LIHEAP Funds $15,814,434 to Help Minnesotans Stay Warm


For Immediate Release

January 30, 2014

Commerce Commissioner announces $15,814,434 in additional LIHEAP funds to help Minnesota consumers stay warm this winter

SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced today that Minnesota will receive an additional $15,814,434 in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for the Energy Assistance Program (EAP). The total amount of funds Minnesota has received this year is $114,540,746.  The LIHEAP program in Minnesota helps low-income homeowners and renters pay heating bills through grant money paid directly to utility companies and heating fuel vendors on behalf of customers.

This announcement is critical for Minnesota’s low-income households, especially those with seniors, young children, veterans, and people with disabilities.  The ongoing sub-zero, arctic weather and sky-rocketing propane prices have added additional stress to family budgets.  To address this need, the Department of Commerce recently increased crisis benefits from $500 to $1,000 for households that heat with propane or heating oil.  The additional LIHEAP funds announced today is greatly needed and with projected sub-zero temperatures continuing in the next few weeks, the State of Minnesota is calling on Congress to provide additional funding.

“These critical federal dollars will make a difference to help Minnesotans who struggle to pay for home heating and make ends meet in the cold winter months ahead. The Minnesota Commerce Department has and will work hard to make sure these funds best help low-income families and individuals in need of energy assistance,” said Commissioner Mike Rothman. “No Minnesotan should be without a warm place to call home during this bitterly cold winter.”

The Minnesota Department of Commerce administers the LIHEAP in partnership with 32 local service providers throughout the state. LIHEAP is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program helps renters and homeowners earning less than 50 percent of the state’s median income ($42,789 for a family of four) obtain grant money to help pay their heating bills.  Last year, Minnesota served 147,636 households and renters with $109 million in federal funds.

How to apply:

Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. Funding is limited and is administered on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested households should contact their local service provider by calling 1-800-657-3710 or visiting the Energy Assistance section of the Commerce Department’s website ( The Minnesota EAP is supported by federal LIHEAP funding and administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

State Emergency Operations Center:

Governor Mark Dayton declared a State of Peacetime Emergency in Minnesota in response to the persistent cold weather and the increased risk households may run out of heating fuel, a situation that would pose immediate threat to public safety. This declaration activated the state’s emergency operations center housing a hotline for Minnesota residents with questions about the current propane situation or who are in danger of running out of heating fuel.  Minnesotans can call 651-297-1304 in the metro area or 1-800-657-3504 in greater Minnesota.

What consumers and Minnesota residents can do to stay safe:

People who use propane to heat their homes can take several steps at this time.

  • Conserve energy as much as possible. Turn down thermostats and be aware of your propane use.
  • Check in on your family members, neighbors and friends.  Call 9-1-1 only in a crisis
  • State Hotline and Department of Commerce online resources are available

o   1-800-657-3504 in greater Minnesota

o   651-297-1304 in the metro area

o   Department of Commerce Energy Assistance Program Section

Use Alternative Heat Sources Safely:

People often turn to alternative heat sources to stay warm when the temperature plummets. The State Fire Marshal (SFM) reminds residents to use caution when using alternative heating sources.

Types of alternative heating sources often seen include:

  • Portable electric heaters
  • Liquid-fueled heaters:
  • Kerosene
  • Waste oil
  • Gas-burning heaters – Propane is most common
  • Solid-fuel heating:
  • Wood-burning
  • Pellet-burning

Any heating appliance with an open flame needs to be vented to the outside because the combustion process of burning fuel uses oxygen and also gives off carbon monoxide — a deadly combination inside of a home.

Other tips when using alternative heat sources:

  • Keep anything flammable — including pets and people — at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Make sure portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off.
  • Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Space heaters need constant watching. Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep. Never place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
  • Make sure all cords on electric heaters are in good shape and checked periodically for any frays or breaks in the insulation surrounding the wires.
  • Check the cord and outlet occasionally for overheating; if it feels hot, discontinue use.
  • Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes.
  • Use a heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters will have the most up to date safety features; older space heaters may not meet the newer safety standards.

Stay Warm Minnesota

Other forms of assistance may be available through county social service programs, community-based organizations, and nonprofit agencies. See the Stay Warm Minnesota Webpage for a list of resources.

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Posted by on January 31, 2014 in Community news, Resources


CAPM Board Highlights

We are excited to introduce our CAPM board members for 2013. Today we have Shanti Shah.


Who are you?

My name is Shanti Shah, I grew up in India. I have been in Minnesota since 1974. My husband Stefan and I have been married for 30 years, we have one son. I have degrees from University of Minnesota and St. Thomas. I have been working in the Information technology field for over 35 years. I have been involved in the Twin Cities Indian American community for as long as I have lived in Minnesota. I was adjunct faculty at Metro State University for 20 years and I am currently an adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota.

Tell us about your community. What some of your current involvements in the community?

In Minnesota, the Indian American community has evolved significantly over the last 45 years. Its size has increased steadily. It is as diverse as India itself. We have Indian Americans from nearly every state with its distinctive language, food, clothing, dance, music and art. We are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians and Christians, just to mention a few religions we follow. This highly educated group of immigrants is represented in every professional section and not to mention business ownership. It is a vibrant community with many active organizations supporting India’s regional, religious, and cultural diversity.

I have been active in my community for a long time. I was one of the founders of School of India for Languages and Culture (SILC) which continues to provide an opportunity for children of Indian descent to learn about their heritage and engage with their community. I have been very involved with the India Association of Minnesota (IAM) which is an Indian umbrella organization that sponsors major programs and events such as India Day on the State Capital grounds. I am a past present of Jain Center of Minnesota and board member on number of organizations representing the Indian American community to the community at large including Ragamala Music and Dance Theater. Until last year, I was a Chair of IAM Trustee Advisory board. I am currently involved in future strategies for IAM and representing Indian Americans in the political process. For the 2012 election, I served as a Presidential Elector and I am involved in my Senate and Congressional District as a representative for my community.

What do you hope to accomplish on CAPM’s board?

I want to support CAPM’s strategies and goals as it continues to represent an increasingly diverse pan-Asian community. I hope to accomplish two things: to help CAPM to increase its influence on state budget and program priorities in support of pan-Asian communities and increase the visibility of this community through CAPM in addressing issues unique to these groups such as education, health care and women’s issues.

Is there a person in your life that has been the most influential? Why?

My family has been most influential in my life. They taught me that I am only whole when my community is also whole. I learned to give back to my community at an early age. It meant welcoming anyone in our home, leading efforts to feed the poor, to help the earthquake victims, help build organizations and institutions such a community temple, and working to elect political candidates who would represent people who never had been represented before in India’s young democracy.


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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in CAPM news, Community news, Uncategorized


Voter Identification Amendment

ST. Paul, MN.- In April, House and Senate Republicans voted “yes” to the proposed constitutional amendment requiring voters to present photo identification when voting at the polls. In November’s general elections, the amendment will be presented on our ballots.

Much of the debate around the country centers on election vote fraud. As a registered voter, it is not required to present a photo ID when voting. States have their own individual requirements for identification at polling places but only first time voter are required to show identification. Voter ID laws have been enacted as a measure to ensure that voters are who they say they are when they vote. However, many have contended that the laws disproportionately affect elderly, minority and low-income groups and are a form of voter suppression. The difficulties associated with getting photo identifications, including the cost burden, would disenfranchise low-income voters.

In Minnesota, the House passed the Voter ID bill, and although it was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton, the bill put the decision directly to the voters on the election ballot. Is this new constitutional amendment a debate over election security or ballot access? To learn more about the voter ID laws in other states and Minnesota, visit ProPublica.

We at CAPM believe that voting rights belong to all eligible, law-abiding Minnesotans and the amendment would limit voting participation in Minnesota. We should protect our right to vote. The Our Vote Our Future coalition would like to invite you to learn more about the photo ID amendment and how you can participate in the campaign here.


Our Vote Our Future is the statewide ballot initiative campaign to defeat the photo ID amendment which will appear on Minnesota’s November 6, 2012 general election ballot. Please visit

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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in CAPM news, Community news



Dragon Festival 2012 Recap

By Ilean Her

Saturday, July 14 dawned with sunlight and a promise of hotter than usual weather.  By 8:00 am, staff and volunteers of the Dragon Festival were busy triaging between the do.® walk 5K Walk Around Lake Phalen walkers, vendors, and dragon boat race participants directing them where to go, how to set up, and do all the things needed to kick-start, greet, and or serve at another festival.  There was confusion, lots of noises and activity, but in the midst of all this, there was a unifying hum by all involved to do their best to make this Dragon Festival the most successful it’s ever been.

The Dragon Festival officially started with an Opening Ceremony at 11:00 am with a dragon dance, drumming, and parade provided by Korean Traditional Music Association with Jang Mi and Hui’s Lucky Dragon.  And shortly thereafter, dragon boats were off and racing on Lake Phalen.  25 boat racing teams, sponsored by local companies and nonprofit organizations participated with teams competing for best time, best overall times, and best team spirit awards.  In a move popular with the festival attendees, pre-trial and official races ran the length of both days.

By Noon on Saturday, the Dragon Festival was in full swing and did not stop until Sunday evening.   Attendance is estimated at 12,000.

Modern and traditional renderings of music, dance, and song from various Asian and Pacific Islander ethnic groups were featured on the Cultural Performance Stage. In the Martial Arts Demonstration Area, more than a dozen differing schools along with their masters and students demonstrated the many forms and styles of martial arts among them are karate, judo, tai chi, kung-fu.  Audience members were drawn in and taught basic skills by some of the schools.

Families had opportunities to view and or directly engage in activities that educate and teach about the cultures and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at the Target tent, the WellsFargo Children Activities Tent, and or the Council’s “Reading Together” tent.

Every festival is a new festival with new experiences and memories.  Thank you all for partaking in the Dragon Festival this year.  Your continued attendance, participation and support are invaluable to the festival’s success.  July 2013 will mark the 10th Anniversary of the Dragon Festival in Phalen Park.  As I look forward, I call out to dedicated volunteers and past committee members who love and cherish the Dragon Festival to join us on the planning committee.  We need your time, talent, and energy to plan a special and truly best ever Dragon Festival.

Save the Date:  July 13 & 14, 2013 – 10th Dragon Festival Anniversary

For more information about Dragon Festival please visit




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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in CAPM Events, Community news



The Council for Asian Pacific Minnesotans and Minnesota Humanities Center Announces Inaugural Legacy Fellows

For Immediate Release

St. Paul, MN: The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans and the Minnesota Humanities Center are pleased to announce the ten fellows for the inaugural Legacy Fellowship Program.  The goal of the Legacy Fellowship Program is to increase the number of artists of Asian Pacific Islander descent to work in the area of art and cultural preservation.

The program received 29 applications and awarded ten artists whose work and vision demonstrated a commitment to their art, showed a strong understanding of their craft, exhibited promise of potential, and artists who understood the importance of developing their business and leadership skills to advance their artistic careers.

The fellows include Elijah Chhum (filmmaker), Chay Douangphouxay (poet), Joseph Hang (visual artist and architect), Jade Hoyer (book artist), Simrat Kang (visual artist and poet), Joua Lee (filmmaker and spoken word artist), Ying Lee (screenwriter), Baoduoy Peter Pheng (visual artist), Phira Rehm (visual artist and poet), and Peter Yang (writer and filmmaker).

The Legacy Fellowship Program will provide fellows with a grant of $2,000 each to develop a project to showcase work in their respective genres. Additionally, fellows will receive monthly professional development opportunities around topics, such as fundraising, marketing, and building a portfolio.

For applications or more questions, please contact May Lee-Yang at or call 651-757-1740.

# # #



Meeting Times, Dates, and Location  Topic
Saturday, July 7, 2012 @ 10-2 PMLocation: Black Bear Crossing Café(Michael D. Glass Community Room)

1630 Lexington Parkway N

St. Paul, MN 55103


OrientationGetting to Know the Other FellowsOverview of the Program
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 @ 6-8 PM   Location: Wilder Foundation(Room 2520)

451 Lexington Parkway North

St. Paul, MN 55104


An Insider Track to GrantwritingPresented by Katie Leo, playwright, actor, teacher, and MN State Arts Board Community Liaison.
Saturday, August 4, 2012 @ 10-4 PM      Location: Black Bear Crossing Café on Como Lake(Michael D. Glass Community Room)


Getting Your Sh*t Together: What Every Artist NeedsLearn how to write an interesting bio. Figure out what’s important to put in an artistic resumé. Get a complimentary headshot for your publicity.
Saturday, September 8, 2012 @ 10-4 PM Location: Black Bear Crossing Café on Como Lake(Michael D. Glass Community Room)


Creating a Five-Year Plan: What You Need To Get to the Next Level in Your Career
Saturday, October 6, 2012@ 10-4 PM  Location: Black Bear Crossing Café on Como Lake(Michael D. Glass Community Room)


Marketing Yourself
As an artist, how do build audiences for your work? How do you reach out to people beyond flyers?  How do you create a brand for yourself that your audiences will understand and connect with?
Saturday, November 3, 2012 @ 10-4 PM   Location: Black Bear Crossing Café on Como Lake(Michael D. Glass Community Room)


Making a Living as an ArtistIt’s awesome to get paid for your work. But until you can pay all your bills, what are some ways you can make as an artist?
Saturday, December 29, 2012 @ 10-2 PM         Location: Black Bear Crossing Café on Como Lake(Michael D. Glass Community Room)


Celebrate Your SuccessEvaluate the Program

NOTE: We will provide meals at all meeting times.

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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in CAPM news, Community Event, Community news



Affordable Health Care Act

photo from Hisham F. Ibrahim/Getty images

According to the recent U.S. Census Bureau and American Community Survey, nearly one in five Minnesotans of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) descent is not insured1.  More specifically, one in six Cambodians in Minnesota do not have health insurance1.  Other Southeast Asians communities like the Hmong and Vietnamese join the Cambodian community in having the highest percentage of uninsured in Minnesota1.  In contrast, over 90% of Chinese, Laotian, Korean, Filipino and Asian Indians have health insurance.  Healthcare and health insurance is undoubtedly very important to Minnesota’s AAPI community.

On June 28th, 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The new rules, consumer rights, and programs that the ACA brings will have a significant impact on our AAPI community in Minnesota. Here are some important details:

What you need to know

New Programs  

Affordable Insurance Exchanges (AIE) will be setup beginning in 2014 to help individuals and small businesses buy health coverage easier and at an affordable price.  You can compare health plans, have your questions answered, determine your eligibility for tax credits or health programs, and enroll in either public or private health plans.

The new law will also create Consumer Assistance Programs (CAP) to help you file complaints, enroll in health coverage, and become more educated about your rights and responsibilities.  Minnesota currently does not have a CAP. However, you may contact the Minnesota Departments of Health , and Commerce, or other agencies and organizations for assistance.  For consumer assistance contacts and information, please see:

New Rights and Services 

Under ACA, you also have many new rights.  You have a right to appeal if your health insurance plan denies payment for a service or treatment.  You may ask your health insurance plan to reconsider their denial of payment.  If they still deny it, you may also ask for an independent external review from an independent review organization.

In addition to your new rights, you may also be eligible to receive preventive services at no cost.  These services however only apply to people enrolled in job-related health plans or individual health insurance policies created after March 23, 2010.  Please note that you may not be eligible if you are enrolled in a “grandfathered” plan.  You may also have to pay some costs for office visits.

Some of these preventive services include: blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol tests; cancer screenings including mammograms and colonoscopies; routine vaccinations; and counseling.  Today, August 1, 2012, coverage of preventive services especially for women, like well-woman visits; gestational diabetes screening; domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling; FDA-approved contraceptive methods; and more begins.  For a complete list of preventive services, please see:

If your health insurance policy covers children, you may add or keep your children on your plan until they turn 26 years old, even if they are married, not living with you, attending school, not financially dependent on you, and/or eligible to enroll in their employer’s plan.

The new law prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to children under the age of 19 and will expand to include all Americans regardless of age or gender beginning January 1, 2014.  This part of the law will apply to all job-related health plans and individual health insurance policies issued after March 23, 2010.  This will also apply to your plan when it begins a plan year or policy year on or after September 23, 2010.

You may be eligible to enroll in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) if you are a U.S. citizen or legal resident, have been denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, and have been uninsured for at least 6 months.  The PCIP program covers primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs.  However premiums will differ depending on which state you live in and plan you choose.  In Minnesota, eligible residents can apply for the PCIP program run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  For more information about monthly premium costs and other costs, please see:

Please note that some insurance plans may be exempt from portions of the new health care law.  “Grandfathered” plans are one example and are exempt from most changes.

Some parts of the new health care law that DO apply to Grandfathered Plans and all other plans include: prohibiting lifetime dollar limits to key health benefits, disallowing plans to cancel your insurance coverage due to mistakes on your application, and extending coverage to your children until they turn 26 years old.

Other parts of the law that DO NOT apply to Grandfathered Plans and Job-Based Plans include:providing certain preventive services at no charge to you, offering new protection when appealing claims and denials, and protecting your choice of health care providers.  One portion   of the law that DOES NOT apply to Grandfathered Individual Plans is the elimination of excluding children due to a pre-existing condition.  For more information, please see:

The new health care law will also create an Early Retirement Reinsurance Program (ERRP) to provide financial relief for employers so retirees can receive quality, affordable insurance.  Please visit the ERRP website if you are interested in participating in the ERRP program.

For a complete list of participating businesses in Minnesota, please see the link below.  The list is updated monthly as applications are approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Prescription Drugs 

The new health care law will help make your Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) more affordable.  If you reach the coverage gap in your Medicare Part D coverage, you will receive a 50% discount on brand-name drugs covered by the new Act.  You will continue to receive this discount until you reach the “catastrophic coverage phase.”  For more information please see:

For more information and to read a copy of the law yourself, go to:                                  **All information was taken from                                                                           ***Department of Health and Human Services Press Release:                                                                         1State of Minnesota. Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans. State of the Asian Pacific Minnesotans. Jul. 2012. <>.

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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in CAPM news, Community news



Volunteer case manager wanted at the Civil Society

The Civil Society is looking for a volunteer case manager to work 10-20 hours/week on Monday through Friday. Through the Civil Society which is an organization that works on human trafficking issues in Minnesota, you will be able to gain knowledge and hands-on experience while working and helping victims of human trafficking. They are located in downtown Saint Paul. 

Please take a look at the Case Manager Job Description for its qualifications HERE.
To apply, please send in your resume and the completed volunteer form to

Check out other volunteer opportunities at


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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Community news, Uncategorized


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