Vanessa Romo

Business & Labor Reporter

Vanessa is KPLU’s newest staff reporter. She joined the team in June 2011 taking on the business and labor beat. Before that she was a freelance reporter for NPR, Marketplace and World Radio Switzerland. She’s originally from Los Angeles but has lived in and reported from New York City and Washington, D.C. She has a master of journalism from New York University.

Vanessa’s most memorable public radio moment: “Bidding on discounted dental work then willingly going under the high-pitched whine of a dental drill. All to illustrate the lengths the uninsured – me, at the time - will go to for emergency healthcare.”

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The online world
9:27 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Allrecipes.com made it big online by providing magic in the kitchen

Screen grab showing the recipe that made Vanessa Romo a famous (for a few people anyway) stuffing maker.

During the Holiday Season, from Thanksgiving to New Years Day, a lot of people are spending extra hours in the kitchen. And while that used to entail dusting off an old recipe box or paging through a sticky and splattered cookbook – today, more aspiring chefs are using their laptops, tablets or smart-phones to look up recipes online.

And when they do, there will be one Website from Seattle that will serve up more piping hot recipes than any other.

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Protesting Wall Street
1:00 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Anatomy of a protest: Occupy Seattle vs. Jamie Dimon of Chase

JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon and Occupy Seattle protesters, shown in front of a Seattle hotel on Nov. 2, did not meet face-to-face – but the protesters would have liked that.
Illustration by Justin Steyer

What happens when the captain of the financial industry is brought to Seattle to celebrate business leadership in the middle of a populist revolt aimed directly at the wealthy and financial companies?

Pepper spray. Arrests. Speeches. And a very nervous Seattle business school, caught in the crossfire, whose gala event of the year could be wrecked. What follows is a close look at the events and decisions leading up to the Nov. 2 clash in downtown Seattle gleaned from emails and documents obtained by KPLU. 

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Seattle legends
2:27 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Jimi Hendrix to get a guitar-shaped park in Seattle

Jimi Hendrix is shown in an undated photo.
Associated Press

One of Seattle’s best known and beloved sons, Jimi Hendrix, is about to get a new park. It’s scheduled to coincide with what would have been the guitar hero’s 70th birthday.

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Protesting Wall Street
1:04 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Deadline for Occupy to leave Seattle campus to be enforced

The scene at the Occupy Seattle encampment at Seattle Community College earlier this week. The protesters are supposed to be gone by this afternoon.
Jonathan Klapel KPLU

Anyone still camped out at the community college in Seattle this afternoon can be cited for trespassing and forcibly removed from the campus said Jill Wakefield, Chancellor of Seattle Community Colleges.

But she says she hopes it won’t have to come to that kind of confrontation with Occupy Seattle protesters at Seattle Central Community College. And, according to one Occupy resident, the protesters have been tearing down and cleaning up. They've even brought in a dumpster for the effort.

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I Wonder Why ... ?
5:00 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Are we prone to mass hysteria here in the NW?

The terror that gripped the Northwest in 1954 came to be called the Windshield Pitting Incident.
PLU Library Archives

Everyone went a little crazy. Police were called, road blocks set up.

It’s 1954, early spring, and tiny chips, pits and dings are popping up on car windshields throughout the Puget Sound region at an alarming rate. Suddenly, communities from Anacortes to Tacoma are in the grip of a textbook case of mass hysteria. (In fact, it is in the textbooks.)

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Boeing union contract
7:35 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

'Yes!' say Boeing machinists to contract; 737-MAX goes to Renton

Boeing machinist union members said 'Yes' by 74 percent to a new four-year contract – hammered out in secret – that will bring jobs to build the newest version of Boeing's 737 to Renton.

The yes vote begins a new era for the aerospace company and its most contentious union, ushered in also by the union's promise to drop a complaint it filed with the National Labor Relations Board. That complaint has been the subject of Congressional hearings and hundreds of news stories around the world.

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Boeing
12:05 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Secret negotiations at Boeing net several key deals with union

Tom Wroblewski, center, president of Boeing Machinists Union District Lodge 751, announces Wednesday that the Boeing Co. and the Machinists union had reached a tentative agreement to build the new Boeing 737 MAX airplane in Renton, Wash.
Associated Press

Boeing and the Machinists union have apparently reached a four-year contract deal as well as a deal to build the 737 MAX in Renton and have the union’s labor complaint dropped.

“We look forward to new era of prosperity for IAM and Boeing,” said Tom Wroblewski, president of Machinists Union District 751.

Wroblewski added that the secret meetings started out as conversations about the 737 and evolved into a full-blown contract deal because outside influences were dampened and the negotiation climate was right.

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Law and order
9:00 am
Fri November 25, 2011

Jurors and smart phones, a troubling mix for courtroom judges

What potential jurors will be seeing from now on in Washington courtrooms.

'OMG! Finalst 4 jury - just like American Idol! ;)'

In the age of the smart phone, courts throughout the state (and around the world really) are grappling with serious problems caused by jurors using social media sites or other online services during trials.

Now, Washington’s courts are trying new tactics to stop jurors from over-sharing.

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Business
9:50 am
Wed November 23, 2011

Occupy Seattle plans to occupy Black Friday in Seattle

A Christmas credit card promotion on Seattle streets on black Friday in 2007. Occupy Seattle protesters say they want to join the festivities not disrupt the activities.
Erin Hennessey KPLU

If you’re a local chances are you’ll find yourself at Westlake Park on the day after Thanksgiving – given that it’s Seattle’s epicenter for everything Holiday related. There’s the Macy’s Parade, the carousel and the tree lighting ceremony.

And this year, Occupy Seattle wants to take part in the festivities. 

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Protesting Wall Street
3:30 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

Update: Occupy Seattle protesters clear bridge after tying up traffic

Occupy Seattle protesters on the University Bridge during the march and rally on Thursday.
Vanessa Romo KPLU

Traffic was snarled in Seattle's University District as hundreds of Occupy Seattle demonstrators from Seattle Central Community College met union and other protesters at the University Bridge as part of a national day of action demanding jobs.

Reporting from the bridge, KPLU's Vanessa Romo said protesters were in the middle of the bridge but were not directly impeding traffic since it appeared vehicles had been rerouted. Some protesters climbed up on part of the bridge, but all protesters had cleared out and the bridge was reopened by 6:20.

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Business
9:10 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Are you happy? Apparently, most Seattleites are darn happy

The sun is rising on a beautiful day in Seattle, apparently more than in other cities!
Ryan Healy Flickr

The Occupy movement is in full force in Seattle with protesters taking to the streets showing their discontent with the way things are. And yet, when asked in a recent survey, are you happy? Most Seattleites said … yes, pretty much.

In fact, when it comes to happiness, Seattle is above average!

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Business
3:56 pm
Mon November 14, 2011

Local liquor stores will likely still sell booze

What's your poison?
Columbine Quillen Flickr

Maybe you’re a regular and know the cashiers by name, or maybe you only go in once a year - to pick up some rum to make that eggnog a little more grown-up. In any case, you might be surprised to learn your local state run liquor store could remain a liquor store.

Brian Smith of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, said the recently passed initiative folds the existing liquor licenses in to the new system.

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Winter fun
2:41 pm
Thu November 10, 2011

Bust out that unitard: Capitol Hill ice rink coming soon

Artist rendering of the Capitol Hill skating rink.
Courtesy of Hunters Capital

For those of you who have them, get ready to bust out your best bedazzled unitard and start practicing your triple Lutz. Capitol Hill is getting its very first ice skating rink this month – December 6 through 24.

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Protesting Wall Street
11:39 am
Fri November 4, 2011

Movement to divest from big banks has its day Saturday

Group wants customers of big banks to take flight with their money.
Jon Tucker Flickr

Frustrated consumers have something to say to big banks: It’s not me ... it’s you.  

And they plan to make it official on Bank Transfer Day Saturday.

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Protesting Wall Street
6:10 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Occupy Seattle wants to disrupt visit of JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon

JP Morgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, left, and Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, leave the White House in Washington, after a meeting between chief executives and President Barack Obama in January 2010.
Associated Press

Occupy Seattle protestors have set their sights on a new target: The highest paid banker on Wall Street who will be visiting Seattle on Wednesday.

Banker Jamie Dimon will be the keynote speaker at the University of Washington’s “Business Leadership Celebration” and Occupy Seattle protesters are marshaling their forces to welcome him loudly.

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