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.

Ways to Connect

It’s been five years since hemp was declared a legal crop in Vermont. But there’s a catch. The law takes effect only if the feds declassify the plant—which is related to marijuana—as a controlled substance.  Federal law still forbids growing hemp. But a new bill with wide support would legalize hemp in Vermont, despite the federal ban. A wood pellet plant in Clarendon has shut down temporarily following a fire that was set off by an explosion in a sawdust hopper. A standout high school basketball player in Enosburg has died following a two-vehicle collision.

A handful of Vermont dairy farmers are raising concerns at the State House about a bill that would grant driver identification cards to Vermont residents who are in this country illegally. A Winooski police officer shot a man after an altercation yesterday afternoon. Isaac Sage is a 35-year old Winooski resident who’s had run-ins with the police before. The family of a Vermont State Police trooper who was killed while trying to stop a fleeing suspect in 2003 has received a $4.5 million settlement from the state and its insurance carrier.

AP/Toby Talbot

The Moretown landfill is open again, but for locals only.

The facility has been in a dispute with the Agency of Natural Resources over complaints of “fugitive odors.

Residents, and drivers on Interstate 89, have been complaining about the smell around the landfill for a long time.

Joel Banner Baird has been following the story for the Burlington Free Press.

At the Statehouse, some Vermont farmers are raising public safety and liability concerns about a bill that would grant driver identification cards to Vermont residents who are in this country illegally. It appears to be an effort to stall the legislation, which easily cleared the Senate.  Migrant workers and their advocates say some of the farmers’ arguments sound offensive and discriminatory. Entergy Vermont Yankee has sued the state again in federal court, claiming the state has delayed approval of a back-up emergency generator.

For years, House Democrats have been reluctant to consider changes to Act 68, the state’s education funding law, but projections of double digit increases in spending over the next two years have changed the debate at the Statehouse. The push to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana has hit a snag in the Vermont state Senate.  A lobbyist for an industry group supporting wind power has apologized to a Vermont Senate committee after a witness she brought in called health concerns connected with wind power "hoo-hah," nonsense and propaganda.

Organizers of Burlington’s Key Bank Vermont City Marathon are offering an opportunity for Boston Marathon runners.

Race officials are offering 150 of the remaining spaces to Boston Marathon participants who were unable to finish the race. They say the runners trained long and hard but were diverted after two bomb attacks. So now they’ll have a second chance to complete a marathon.

Rescuers will resume recovery operations Thursday morning in Barnet.

They’re looking for one person lost on the Passumpsic River when a canoe overturned Wednesday afternoon. Two other adults in the canoe were able to swim to shore. The missing person was last seen in the river, and then visual contact was lost.

Rescue personnel and the Vermont State Police searched for the person until operations has to be suspended due to darkness. They are considering the operation a recovery mission. The person’s identity is not being released until the family is notified.

Legislation that began with a proposed moratorium on wind development has been whittled down to a study of how all electric generation projects are sited.  Both sides say they’re happy with the outcome. Justice Brian L. Burgess is retiring from the Vermont Supreme Court. Dartmouth College is canceling classes after students who staged a recent protest decrying homophobia, sexual assault and racism on campus were targeted by online threats.

Legislative leaders may get an unexpected gift from Congress as they struggle to raise enough money to pay for state government. The expansion of the state sales tax to Internet purchases could raise $20 million. Officials from Vermont’s largest banks are speaking out against a Shumlin Administration proposal to hike the franchise tax paid by the state’s five largest banks. A committee of the Vermont Senate is expected to complete work this week on a revenue bill that would limit how much a homeowner could deduct for mortgage interest when filing state income taxes.

The U.S. Senate began work this morning on immigration reform with a focus on farm workers.  A bill under consideration by the Vermont House Government Operations Committee limits use of the electronic weapons, such as stun guns to situations that justify lethal force, or to prevent imminent harm. Work has begun on a project to allow the state’s wood-fired heating system to serve some buildings in downtown Montpelier.

Work has begun in Montpelier on a project to expand the heating system used by state government buildings to serve public and private buildings in the downtown.

It’s part of a $20 million project that will expand the wood-fired heating system. It will be run jointly by the city and the state.

William Fraser, Montpelier’s City Manager says the first part of the project involves disconnecting an old water line over 90 years old, and reconnecting the services to another line.

Lawmakers are reacting to the stun gun death of a Thetford man last year with legislation that would restrict police use of the electronic weapons. Sponsors of the bill say they are also want to improve police training, especially in dealing with people undergoing a mental health crisis. A 5-kilometer walk-run in Burlington has raised more than $10,000 for funds set up to help people injured in last Monday's bomb explosions at the Boston Marathon.

There’s not a lot of time left in the legislative session, but the House could still vote on a bill that would require labeling of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs in food. Addison County State’s Attorney David Fenster and Attorney General William Sorrell say Middlebury Police officers were justified in the use of deadly force in an incident last October.  A man has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges connected to a scheme to defraud hundreds of investors in a movie.

Before the Vermont House closes the legislative session sometime next month, it could still vote on a bill that would change the way food sold in Vermont is labeled. Time is short, but a key House committee turned quickly this week to genetically engineered organisms – or GMOs – as it considered a bill that would require labeling of such products.

People in Rutland are still talking about a hit and run accident in Rutland that killed a well-known Mendon woman. Jane Outslay owned a popular Rutland restaurant.

The driver left the scene, and was later identified as Christopher Sullivan, who is a former city attorney.

Charges have not been filed, and that prompted a lot of response from readers of the Rutland Herald

Reporter Brent Curtis joins VPR’s Neal Charnoff for our Friday Regional Report.

Legislation aimed at protecting water quality by controlling development along lakes and ponds will likely be delayed for a year. The bill has already passed the House. Senate leaders want to postpone passage so lawmakers can spend the summer on public education efforts. The mother of a Thetford man killed last June by a state police officer firing a stun gun said her son would be alive today if a mental health counselor had been called to the confrontation.

Let's face it, aging and death are not conversation topics people really look forward to, but Jane Brody says it's crucial to talk about the inevitable before it occurs.

Brody is the Personal Health Columnist for the New York Times. She'll be in Westminster on Tuesday, to give a talk called "The Great Beyond Can Wait, but You Can't. Helping Your Loved Ones Prepare Medically, Legally and Emotionally For the End of Life." It's part of the Speaking of Aging Series presented by Westminster Cares.

The Vermont House is expected to give final approval to a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana - and a key member of the Senate says that chamber is likely to follow suit.

In Vermont, maple syrup is growing jobs and allowing farmers to make a profit.

When most people imagine maple syrup production, they think of buckets hanging from trees collecting sap. But these days, most of that sap is collected by pipeline and vacuum pumps.

VPR/Melody Bodette / David Marvin holds a fresh bottle of maple syrup at Butternut Mountain Farm in Morrisville. The company handles 50 percent of

Sap is flowing, the buckets are hanging from trees and the steam is billowing from country sugarhouses all over the state.

It's an image that helps sugarmakers market their syrup. But it's no longer a very accurate picture.

Maple has become big business. In the past ten years, the number of trees that aretapped has tripled and technological advancements have doubled the amount of syrup produced for each tap.

http://www.vpr.net/audio/news/regional_news/2013/04/spot-0330-0401-Maple Boom_040113_Melody Bodette.mp3

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