Melody Bodette

News Producer, Morning Edition

Melody is a News Producer for Morning Edition on VPR and a producer for But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids.

She was formerly VPR's deputy news director and a reporter covering Addison and Franklin counties. She began at VPR as a part-time production assistant and was promoted to full-time in 2007. She has also served as a news and editorial assistant for The Burlington Free Press. After graduating from Skidmore College, she spent a year in France working as a high school teaching assistant.

Melody grew up on a dairy farm in Addison County. She spends her free time gardening, cooking and being outside as much as possible.

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The Board of Trustees at the University of Vermont has given its approval to a budget for the next fiscal year.

The budget includes $7.8 million in one-time funding, to make up a gap between revenue and expenses. The money would come from reserve funds and from the university’s endowment. The board had previously planned to use $2 million in one time funding.

University Vice President Richard Cate says the remaining shortfall comes from a decrease in the number of enrolling students and different mix of in-and-out-of-state students than expected.

Bernie Sanders is set to lead a hearing this week on the effects of sexual assaults on veterans while serving in the military. Vermont mental health officials say they're hoping a new seven-bed psychiatric unit in  Middlesex will pass inspections and be ready to be open for patients by next week. Families held a reburial ceremony over the weekend at a Rochester cemetery where human remains were washed out of the ground by Tropical Storm Irene.

A Vermont National Guard official says the Air Force will consider the information in a revised environmental report when it makes a decision on where to base F-35 fighter aircraft. The Bennington School District will return to the voters for a third time on June 11 to try to pass a 2014 school budget. A researcher at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center has found what may be a way to improve treatment for adults who have a common form of leukemia.  The recently published study shows that two drugs may be better than one.

The Burlington-based Committee on Temporary Shelter, better known as COTS, has received a grant that will allow them to launch a new program. The goal is to go beyond temporary housing in shelters and overflow motels and instead create a bridge back to permanent housing.

They’ll be working on this project with the Champlain Housing Trust and the Howard Center.

Rita Markley, the Executive Director of COTS, say the new program, says the program will put housing first.

Utility crews are working to restore power in the eastern and central part of Vermont after a powerful storm swept through the region yesterday. Champlain College is offering data protection services to more than 14,000 students and their families after a computer drive containing their Social Security numbers and other data was left unsecured in a computer lab.  Fletcher Allen Health Care has applied for a Certificate of Need to spend $3.7 million on detailed planning and design work for a new building that could have four stories and include up to 128 single patient rooms.

Powerful thunderstorms passed through the region yesterday, taking down trees and knocking out power for over 13,000 utility customers. Smaller airports are feeling the crunch as airlines continue to cut costs.  The big carriers are consolidating services at larger airports and flying fewer planes in and out of smaller ones. At Burlington Airport passenger numbers are higher than they were a decade ago, but they’ve declined nearly 18 percent since peaking five years ago.

Powerful thunderstorms passed through the region yesterday, taking down trees and knocking out power for over 13,000 utility customers.

The hardest hit areas were Caledonia and Essex counties, including the towns of Danville and St. Johnsbury.

Vermont State Police say many secondary roads were blocked by trees and they responded to reports of motorists stranded on back roads between downed trees and power lines. A tree fell on one car, trapping two people inside. They were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

AP/Toby Talbot

Big plans are being considered at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. The hospital has applied for a Certificate of Need to spend $3.7 million on detailed planning and design work for a new building that could have four stories and include up to 128 single patient rooms.

The hospital needs the approval of the Green Mountain Care Board just to spend the money on the design phase. If they decide to move forward and build the project, they’ll need separate approval.

Dave Keelty, director of facilities planning and development for Fletcher Allen Health Care.

AP/Toby Talbot

With temperatures rising to the 90s in the weather forecast, many Vermonters may be thinking of heading to their favorite swimming hole.

But Vermont Health Department officials and a new advisory group are urging caution. With last week’s heavy rains, water levels are high around the state and currents are fast.

Ken Schatz is a member of an advisory group working with the department on swimming hole safety:

Vermont National Guard officials are studying a revised draft of an environmental impact statement that outlines how the basing of the F-35 fighter jet in South Burlington would affect the area around the Burlington International Airport. Federal budget cuts are affecting operations at Vermont’s seven Head Start programs. With temperatures rising to the 90s in the weather forecast, many Vermonters may be thinking of heading to their favorite swimming hole.

AP/Eric A. Besette

The new Lake Champlain Bridge connecting West Addison, Vermont with Crown Point, New York was re-opened in 2011.

The former bridge on the site was imploded in 2009, after the foundation was determined to be unsafe. For months after the demolition, people had to use a temporary ferry during the construction project.

In the months after the bridge re-opened, some of the lights on the $76 million bridge stopped working.

Reporter Lohr McKinstry has been following that story for the Plattsburgh Press Republican

A public employees union wants to represent up to 7,000 home care providers in Vermont. Vermont agriculture officials say commercial compost is safe to use. Last year, contaminated compost killed gardens in northern Vermont. One of three men linked to the killing of a 78-year-old woman is due in federal court to be sentenced on charges unrelated to the 2010 death of the Sheffield grandmother.

VPR/Melody Bodette

Workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in Vermont this week, estimating damage from last week’s flooding.

FEMA teams will be in Chittenden and Lamoille counties.

They’ll work with the Vermont Agency of Transportation and town officials to determine if the state has met the threshold of $1 million in damage to qualify for a Public Assistance disaster declaration.

Counties must also reach a total amount of damage based on population, in order to receive assistance.  In Chittenden County that amount is a minimum of $550,000.

State tax officials say while Vermonters are required to pay tax on out of state and online purchases, many don’t. A long-running dispute over the tax status of an educational organization has led to a lawsuit.  Officials took part in a ceremony this morning marking the re-opening of an historic bridge in Richmond.  Vermont has the lowest unemployment rate in New England, at just 4 percent.

VPR/Melody Bodette

State officials are adding up the total damage after heavy storms dumped rain on eastern Chittenden County last night, causing localized flooding.

Governor Peter Shumlin says the state is trying to determine if the damage in Jericho, Underhill, Essex and Cambridge exceeds a million dollars – that’s the threshold required to apply for federal disaster funding.

Andrew Fletcher and his wife left their house in Underhill Thursday night when the stream next near them began rising. Their home is at the bottom of a hill, where a dirt road meets Route 15.

Green Mountain Power says they’re monitoring water levels at their 32 dams and hydro stations across the state. Heavy rainfall over the last two days has been drenching the state.

Spokesperson Dorothy Schnure says they’re very focused on the four dams on the Lamoille River, where water is highest so far. She says water levels are above typical spring highs.

Heavy rains fell over parts of Vermont causing road washouts and flash flooding. Especially hard hit were the towns of Underhill, Jericho Cambridge and Essex. Senator Patrick Leahy wants a new immigration reform bill to include a provision that would provide key rights to same-sex couples. But he also knows his proposal would imperil the larger immigration effort. Leahy is looking for other ways to accomplish his goal. Nearly 40,000 runners and spectators will be in Burlington this Sunday for the annual KeyBank Vermont City Marathon.

Heavy rains fell over parts of Vermont causing road washouts and flash flooding. Especially hard hit were the towns of Underhill, Jericho Cambridge and Essex.

Many local roads are closed. Route 15 and Route 104 are also closed this morning. Vermont State Police say a bridge in Westford has been washed out and numerous roads have been closed or partially closed due to flash flooding caused by heavy rains. Vermont Emergency Management is reminding drivers to never drive across a flooded road.

A Massachusetts developer has proposed a power line under Lake Champlain to carry renewable electricity from northern New York into the New England grid. The developer plans to bury the line as much as possible where it runs on land. Governor Peter Shumlin has signed into law a novel measure aimed at protecting companies from so-called patent trolling — the practice of making deceptive claims of patent infringement in the hopes of collecting licensing or settlement money.

A North Bennington entrepreneur has won state and federal permits to generate electricity at a 200 year old dam site on the Walloomsac River. Vermont is getting $6 million in Homeland Security grants to help prepare for potential terrorist attacks or natural disasters. Botanist says time is running out to prevent the spread of Japanese Knotweed made worse by Tropical Storm Irene.

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