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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Alaskan Way Viaduct
12:49 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Seattle viaduct to reopen mid-day Saturday

Watch as an entire section collapses:

The Washington Transportation Department says Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct will reopen at mid-day Saturday, ending traffic congestion drivers call "viadoom" a day-and-a-half early.

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Election coverage
5:54 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Long-term care initiative is back up for a vote

The Long-term Care Initiative would require the state to boost training for home healthcare workers and implement more rigorous background checks. That’s pretty similar to what was passed but never enacted back in 2008.

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Business
5:53 pm
Wed October 19, 2011

Occupy Seattle, get free pizza; protests cost city $105,000 so far

Big Mario's Pizza delivers hot pies to Seattle's Occupy Wall Street protesters.
David Meinert

As the Occupy Wall Street Movement snowballs, small business owners, who employ just over half of all private sector employees in the nation, say they’re a part of the 99%, too.

It’s 5 o’clock in Seattle’s Westlake Park – the beating heart of the local Occupy Wall Street movement—and Jennifer Fox and some fellow teenage occupiers are smoking hand rolled cigarettes. They’re waiting for the free pizza.

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Education
10:11 am
Tue October 18, 2011

Prosecutors to file charges in Seattle Schools financial scandal

It's been eight months since the Seattle Public Schools financial scandal was first uncovered, and after a full criminal investigation, King County prosecutors plan to bring charges of felony theft against Silas Potter, Jr., the man at the center of the scandal.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct
2:22 pm
Mon October 17, 2011

You're being watched ... to make viaduct closure go more smoothly

The hub of the all-seeing eyes monitoring traffic around the Alaskan Viaduct during the impending nine-day closure.
West Seattle Blog

For anyone who thought they were anonymous driving the city streets of Seattle, the truth is you’re being watched.

And while this might normally be upsetting, the all-seeing cameras positioned over freeways, bridges and intersections may soon be a lifeline during the impending nine-day closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

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Education
4:19 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Swing by Starbucks to help local classroom projects

El patojo Flickr

What do coffee drinkers and teachers have in common?

A shared passion to educate local school kids. At least, that’s what the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Starbucks are counting on. The two mega-institutions have teamed up to help King County public school teachers get money for unfunded classroom projects.

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Drug control
12:20 pm
Fri September 30, 2011

To fight meth, new system will track your purchases of cold-meds

The fight against meth takes many forms, one of which is a new tracking system that will limit how much cold medicine you can buy.
Eric Chan Flickr

If you’re a fan of the television series "Breaking Bad" then you know, in the words of Walter White,  that making methamphetamines "is just basic chemistry."

And some of the key chemical ingredients of meth are found in over the counter cold, flu and allergy medications which contain pseudoephedrine and ephedrine. That’s why the Washington State Board of Pharmacy is implementing a new electronic reporting system that will monitor purchases of these medications in real time.

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Public spaces
12:17 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

In Everett, podcast helps blind park goers 'see' the park

Winding paths throughout a park are intended to awaken a sense of discovery but for the blind they can be confusing and even dangerous. So to eliminate potential hazards and enhance the park-going experience for its blind visitors, the City of Everett introduced downloadable audio walking instructions for Lions Park.

It’s called an audio wayfinding system and it’s one of several renovations unveiled today.

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Murder of Tom Wales
6:20 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

'Dear Pops...' A letter to a murdered father, Tom Wales

Amy Wales is hugged by a well wisher after a ceremony in 2006 honoring her slain father, Assistant United States Attorney Thomas C. Wales.
Associated Press

Approaching the 10-year anniversary of the slaying of federal prosecutor Thomas Wales, his daughter spoke publicly for the first time.

In an emotional letter to her father, Amy Wales appealed to the public to come forward with any information that might assist the FBI in the unsolved murder investigation.

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Boeing 787 Dreamliner
11:30 am
Tue September 27, 2011

One final delay, then 787 Dreamliner finally heads for Tokyo

Hundreds of people gathered Monday for the delivery ceremony of the first Boeing 787 to be delivered to a customer.
Boeing

There were delays until the very end. Boeing’s first 787 headed for its new home in Tokyo about 45 minutes behind schedule this morning.

The Dreamliner will begin active service for Japan’s All Nippon Airways about a month from now. And Boeing is banking on years of research and design modifications in the new 787 to "wow" carriers and passengers alike.  

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Economic Downturn
11:10 am
Tue September 27, 2011

College grads driving upward spike in bankruptcy filings

Ryan Dickey Flickr

Our high school teachers always said that a college education was a sure fire way to ensure financial stability down the road but now there’s mounting evidence that no one is immune to financial disaster.

A new study found college graduates are the fastest growing group of consumers filing for bankruptcy in the nation.  And Washington State is no exception.

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Business
4:45 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

Mayor McGinn calls on Congress to support Obama's jobs plan

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.
City of Seattle

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wants Congress to put aside partisanship and pass President Obama's $450 billion American Jobs Act.

If passed, it could mean big bucks for the state of Washington; The federal government could fund up to $1.8 billion worth of public works projects that it says, would create jobs and improve infrastructure.

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sick leave vote
5:40 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Update: Seattle council says paid sick leave is right direction

Sick workers at Seattle businesses with at least four employees will now get some paid leave.
Davide Taviani Flickr

The Seattle City Council voted 8-1 this afternoon to approve the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, making the vote official after council members announced last week that they finally had the votes to pass it.

The lone dissenter in the vote was Council President Richard Conlin.

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Gold Buyers
2:17 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Modern day gold rush has many companies prospecting for deals

With soaring gold prices, there are an increasing number of individuals, online agencies and companies flying around the nation looking for jewelry and even gold fillings.
Flickr

With the economy seemingly in a freefall, a frenzy of gold buying as sent the price to record highs. 

This gold fever has created a new breed of gold miners – traveling estate buyers who temporarily set up shop in hotels, offering to pay cash on the spot.

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Conversation with America
7:00 am
Mon September 5, 2011

Put down coffee, pick up phone says Starbucks CEO

Howard Schultz, shown in this 2009 photo, wants you to make some phone calls.
Associated Press

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has been in a letter writing mood lately and that’s earned him lots of supporters to his political cause.

A few weeks ago, Schultz asked fellow CEOs to join him in freezing campaign contributions to politicians until they end what he calls their “hyper-partisan” behavior. Now he wants to talk to the rest of America.

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