Melody Bodette

Producer, 'But Why' podcast

Melody is a Producer for But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids.

She was formerly VPR's deputy news director, Morning Edition producer 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.

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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.

Tropical Storm Irene is still packing a punch for some Vermont businesses. That’s because more than 200 employers were forced to lay off workers after the storm—and other flooding that year. And some have seen their unemployment tax rates go up, sometimes dramatically. Vermont lawmakers have a heavy agenda set for today. Some are saying they’ll still be able to wrap up business for the year by Saturday.

The Vermont House is preparing to debate a bill that would allow immigrant farmworkers in the country illegally to drive in Vermont, with a new type of driver's privilege card.  A bill that would require labels on genetically modified food sold in Vermont will not likely see action this legislative session.  The Vermont Public Service Board says a 16-turbine wind project in Sheffield is meeting its noise standards and is in compliance with its Certificate of Public Good.  A Burlington High School Spanish teacher has been placed on administrative leaving pending a criminal investigation.

A Burlington High School Spanish teacher has been placed on administrative leaving pending a criminal investigation.

Burlington police say that Giovanna Yaranga will be arraigned this afternoon in District Court on charges stemming from an allegation of an inappropriate relationship with a student.

In a statement, Burlington School Superintendent Jeanne Collins says the news is deeply upsetting to the community and student safety is the school’s priority. Collins says the district had no evidence of physical improprieties or sexual misconduct by Yaranga.

It looks like efforts to protect the edges of Vermont's lakes and rivers from the negative effects of development will have to wait another year. The clock is running out on the 2013 legislative session, and it appears time has run out for a bill requiring labels on genetically modified food sold in Vermont. Lawmakers remain concerned that a state law on genetic labeling could provoke a lawsuit from the biotech industry. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding drivers to be on the lookout for moose.

Steven Kovich

The former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins wrote that high school is “all too often the place where poetry goes to die.” He set out on a mission to collect short, clear, contemporary poems, with the idea that teachers could read one per day, for the 180 day school year, and allow students to simply hear and absorb the poetry, with no discussion, explication or quizzes.

Rutland’s former city attorney Christopher Sullivan was in court yesterday, where he pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a fatal hit and run accident that killed a Rutland restaurant owner.

On April 10th, 71- year old Jane Outslay was hit and killed by a vehicle in the city of Rutland. Sullivan’s lawyer contacted police the next day and told them the vehicle involved in the crash was owned by his client Christopher Sullivan.

Governor Peter Shumlin remains strongly opposed to the tax bills passed by both the House and Senate. The disagreement shows that the governor and lawmakers have very different views about how taxes affect the economy. House and Senate negotiators will soon begin working on a compromise version of the 2014 budget. One of many differences between them is how the state work force that administers the welfare-to-work program would be affected.

The Senate has rejected a plan to raise income tax rates on wealthy Vermonters to help pay for next year’s budget. A company that planned to grow food year-round using methane from the Brattleboro landfill has filed for Chapter Seven Bankruptcy. A Rutland man is due in court to face charges in a fatal hit and run crash that killed a pedestrian last month. Hardwood Union High School will remain closed for a second day after someone broke in and damaged the plumbing, causing some flooding and water damage.

VPR/Ric Cengeri

The names of the places around us often tell the unique story of Vermont’s history. All next week on Morning Edition, we’ll be taking a look at some of those names.

Our guide is “Vermont Place Names: Footprints of History,” by Esther Munroe Swift.

Let us know if you have a question about a place name below, and we’ll see if Vermont Place Names has the answer.

Vermont Place Names, Footprints of History was first published in 1977. The copyright is held by Esther Munroe Swift’s estate, which granted permission for its use. 

Harwood Union High School in Duxbury is closed because flooding has damaged several areas of the school.

Vermont State Police say staff arriving at the school Wednesday morning found that the school had been vandalized sometime overnight.

The vandals broke into the school and damaged plumbing and clogged drains, causing flooding to numerous areas of the school. The incident is under investigation, and police are seeking information about the incident.

School is closed because of the water damaged and clean-up.

Young women in Vermont are ill-equipped and not prepared for the challenges of economic independence and adulthood---and that’s what they say about themselves.

A new report released this week by Vermont Works for Women draws on interviews with over 200 women between the ages of 15 and 25. Vermont Works for Women Executive Director Tiffany Bluemle says there are a number of things that these young women, most of limited financial means, pointed to as obstacles to success.

The Senate passed its tax bill yesterday. The legislation raises a total of $10 million using four primary sources. One of northern New England’s most unusual natural history museums will soon have a new leader. Director Charlie Browne is retiring after 34 years at the helm of the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury. He leaves behind a museum that is very different from the one he arrived at as a young intern.

Federal regulators say they’re confident the public is not in danger from the tons of radioactive spent fuel stored in an above-ground pool at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear power plant. The price of gasoline is about to go up. Yesterday, Governor Peter Shumlin signed the transportation budget, which contains the new tax. At the Statehouse today, lawmakers are spending much of their time on the House and Senate floor debating a slew of bills.

Vermont Senate budget writers have completed their version of next year’s state budget. It includes new limits on a key welfare-to-work program. Federal regulators say they’re confident the public is not in danger from the tons of radioactive spent fuel stored in an above-ground pool at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.The comments by Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials came after a nuclear critic told Vermont lawmakers that the fuel rods should be moved because of the potential threat.

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.