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Stateside: Rep. Slotkin on impeachment; new head of Detroit animal control; varsity video games

Two people playing a video game
Starting in 2020, Michigan Technological University will become the first public university in the state to offer “esports" at the varsity level.";

Today on Stateside, Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin has been hesitant to call for impeachment of President Trump in the past. But she says allegations involving Trump's conversation with the Ukranian president, if true, would change her mind. Plus, why universities are embracing video games as the newest collegiate sport. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

With latest allegations involving Ukraine, Rep. Slotkin considers impeachment

Stateside's conversation with Elissa Slotkin

  • Today, President Trump confirmed that he blocked aid to Ukraine a week before his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He also admitted that during the call, he asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump announced today he has authorized the release of a transcript of that phone call, which he says will prove that nothing inappropriate was discussed. These developments, however, are shiftingsome Democrats'views on impeachment. 
  • Among them is Representative Elissa Slotkin of Michigan's Eighth District. She joined Stateside to explain why the allegations against the president, if true, would change her mind about impeachment, which she's been hesitant to call for in the past. 

New Detroit animal control director facing criticism from animal welfare advocates

Stateside’s conversation with Kat Stafford

  • The death of nine-year-old Emma Hernandez, who was mauled to death by three pit bulls last month, put Detroit's Animal Care and Control Department under a harsh spotlight. That department has been headed by three different directors in the past four years. Its newest director, Mark Kumpf, started his job on Monday, but critics are calling attention to his track record — including the fact that he was fired from his last job.
  • Kat Stafford covers Detroit government for the Detroit Free Press. She tells us why Kumpf was fired from his previous positionand what kind of backlash his hiring has garnered so far.

Community mental health providers fear proposed budget language puts entire public system at risk

Stateside’s conversation with Bob Sheehan and Julia Rupp

  • Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who have a mental illness or substance abuse disorder are untreated. That's according to an Altarum study that came out this summer. Meanwhile, the state's publicly funded mental health system has been struggling financially for years. The private health plans say they can do a better job. As the legislature and the governor come up with new budgets for the next fiscal year, what's the plan for the state's $2.6 billion Medicaid mental health system?
  • Bob Sheehan is chief executive officer of the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan, and Julia Rupp is executive director of HealthWest, formerly known as Muskegon County Community Mental Health. They share their thoughts on the current state budget proposal for community mental health funding, and what changes they’re hoping to see before it’s approved.
  • We’ve spoken at length about these proposed changes to our state's mental health system with Michigan Association of Health Plans Executive Director Dominick Pallone, who represents the private health plans. Click here to find our June interview with Pallone.

Shred like a girl: Ann Arbor program encourages girls to pick up a skateboard

Click above to hear an audio postcard from Stateside’s Bella Isaacs-Thomas

  • Skate parks in movies and television tend to have a certain vibe. They're a little grungy, lots of graffiti, and filled with teenage boys in baggy shorts. You're unlikely to see many women skaters. But a program at the Ann Arbor Skateparkis working to change that image, and bring more girls into the sport. Since 2014, All Girls Skate has welcomed kids of all ages to try their hand at skateboarding. Stateside’s Bella Isaacs-Thomas visited the skatepark to see the girls in action.

Theater Talk: Highlighting Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood; college admissions scandal; a zombie play

Stateside's interview with David Kiley

  • The Detroit Public Theatre, which is launching its fifth season this year, is focused on performing groundbreaking plays often written by playwrights with deep Michigan ties. This week, the theater will be premiering Paradise Blue, a Detroit story from Dominique Morisseau, a Detroit-born actor and writer. David Kiley of Encore Michiganbreaks down the plot of that play, and tells us about some of the other productions hitting the stage at theaters across the state this month.

Varsity video gaming? Michigan Tech becomes state’s first university with varsity esports 

Stateside's interview with Suzanne Sanregret

  • There will soon be a new way to compete in sports at the varsity level at Michigan Technological University. Starting in 2020, MTU will become the first public university in the state to offer “esports.” Suzanne Sanregret is the athletic director at Michigan Tech. She explains exactly what “esports” are, what kind of career players could expect after college, and what she’d say to skeptics who say that online video games are not a sport. 

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