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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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.

A bill allowing terminally ill patients to get medication to end their lives became law yesterday with Governor Peter Shumlin’s signature. Although the law takes effect immediately, it may be some time before it’s used. Doctors and hospitals are looking carefully at whether and how to participate. Police in Burlington are increasing security for the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon this weekend. Police in Morristown say two women have been charged with attempted murder for allegedly setting fire to a house occupied by a family.

At a little after 10:20 last night, House Speaker Shap Smith brought the gavel down on the 2013 Legislative session. As the legislature wrapped up a number of were up for final approval, including a plan to finance Vermont’s new Health Care Exchange beginning in January 2015. This week is Way To Go Week,  and Vermonters are being encouraged to carpool or use mass transit to get to work.  That’s become easier in recent years with the expansion of commuter bus service.

A 12-year old boy has been airlifted to a Boston hospital after being injured at the Springfield electrical substation.

Green Mountain Power says the preliminary investigation shows that the fence was locked and secure and that the boy climbed the fence yesterday afternoon.

The Rutland Herald reports that the boy came in contact with some equipment and an electrical line.

Downtown Springfield lost power after the incident.

Green Mountain Power’s spokesperson says in early reports the boy was conscious and moving before being taken to the hospital.

Vermont lawmakers appear close to wrapping up their 2013 session, with agreements in hand on a budget. The shortage of qualified workers is a problem that’s taken on some urgency for manufacturers across the country and in Vermont. For years technical programs have been teaching basic skills, but the specialized needs of modern manufacturers are demanding a more customized approach to worker training.  One program in Chittenden County is starting to meet that demand.

Vermont lawmakers are back at the Statehouse. Lawmakers have approved legislation that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts marijuana. The Whitingham Ambulance Service will soon be shutting down. The town of Shelburne has refunded more than $330,000 in overpaid property taxes to Wake Robin, a retirement community.

Democratic leaders at the Legislature and Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin are in a showdown over tax policy and the disagreement means lawmakers did not adjourn this weekend as planned. The Whitingham Ambulance Service will soon close its doors, after forty years serving the rural towns near the state’s southern border. Emergency responders say changing economic and social patterns threaten the survival of many small ambulance services.

How does a shorter summer vacation sound? If you’re a student probably not so good, but what if in exchange there were longer break periods built into the school year…breaks that could be used for enrichment, camps or time with your family? That alternative is being considered by some school superintendents in Vermont. They’re calling it School Calendar 2.0.

The Bennington Police and the FBI searched two spas in Bennington this week after allegations emerged of human trafficking and prostitution.

Police seized computers, cell phones, cash and business records. Neal Goswami has been following the story for the Bennington Banner and he spoke with VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

Click listen to hear the interview.

The Vermont State Police are investigating a suspicious incident in West Rutland yesterday afternoon that may involve a missing child.

Officers received a report that a young girl around the age of six approached a car and reported being injured and then ran into the woods.

The girl said her name was “Angel” or “Angela.” She was described as white, with brown straight hair, and was missing a left front tooth. She was wearing a red skirt, white t-shirt, flip flops and a mood ring.

There’s a lot of legislative news today as lawmakers work to wrap up the 2013 session. The House has taken a major step toward changing the way food is labeled in Vermont. Lawmakers approved legislation yesterday to require labeling of food that contains genetically modified organisms. Legislative leaders are working on a new plan to lower all income tax rates and primarily benefit middle income Vermonters. The day after the Vermont Senate passed legislation allowing doctors to provide lethal medication to terminally ill patients who request it, backers of the bill received a scare.

In the age of Super PACs, the Vermont House wants to prohibit big contributions to political action groups. The House passed legislation Wednesday that would cap donations to “Super PACs.” Supporters hope a last-minute compromise means a bill that would allow terminally ill patients to get doctors’ help to end their lives will become law. The Senate voted Wednesday to send the bill back to the House, the compromise was structured to win over just one vote.

Vermont officials say the state has received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to start demolition of the state office complex in Waterbury. Some buildings had to be abandoned after was flooding by Tropical Storm Irene.  The Vermont Senate will resume debate this afternoon on proposal that would allow doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients who request it. Crews are planning to re-open a section of railroad track after three freight cars loaded with corn derailed and crashed into the Passumpsic River in Barnet.

After a lengthy debate that got personal at times, the Vermont Senate has postponed final action on a bill that allows terminally ill patients to get a doctor’s prescription to end their lives. The Vermont Legislature is one step closer to decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. On Tuesday, the Vermont Senate gave preliminary approval to legislation that would make it a civil offense rather than a crime to possess one ounce or less of pot. The vote was 24-to-6.

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