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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Merger blocked
4:42 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

AT&T, T-Mobile merger could have big impact on Wash. jobs

The T-Mobile corporate headquarters photographed today in Bellevue, Wash. The challenged merger between AT&T and T-Mobile is of great concern to the more than 3,300 T-Mobile workers in the state.
Associated Press

The justice department is suing to block AT&T’s acquisition of Bellevue-based T-Mobile USA, arguing it’s a bad deal for consumers. But here in Washington, an even greater threat is the impact the merger could have on local jobs and the economy.

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Business
3:23 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Downtown shoppers will see JC Penny after 30-year hiatus

JC Penny's new location in downtown Seattle will be in the three-story Kress building at Third Avenue and Pike Street.
Dan Neslon Flickr

It’s been almost 30 years but JC Penny is making a comeback. The Seattle Times reports the clothing-store chain is planning to set up shop just one block from where the original store once stood.

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National Labor Rights Week
2:34 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Mexican Consulate hosting free labor rights workshops

The Mexican government will be helping workers in and around Seattle know their rights and learn ways to protect themselves from unscrupulous employers.
Chris de Rham Flickr

Latino workers struggling with issues of fair wages, harassment and safety in the workplace are getting help this week from an unlikely source. The Mexican government is sponsoring workshops in Seattle and other cities to help those workers understand their rights.

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Boeing
6:07 pm
Fri August 26, 2011

FAA approves 787 Dreamliner

The first assembled 787 Dreamliner was displayed at the facility in Everett on Friday when the FAA's officials handed Boeing a Type Certificate allowing the plane to be delivered.
Vanessa Romo KPLU

It’s years behind schedule and over budget but Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is now approved to carry passengers.

Federal Aviation Administration officials gave their official seal of approval amid swelling music, a flag parade, and a fly over by Airplane Number 2.

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Public Spaces
3:30 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

Update: Chihuly, city break ground for exhibition at Seattle Center

Dale Chihuly mans a shovel at the ceremonial groundbreaking for a new exhibition of his artwork at the Seattle Center. Next to Chihuly is Billy O'Neill, VP of operations of Chihuly studios.
Robin Cedar KPLU

What was once a Fun Forest will soon be “ Chihuly Garden and Glass.”

Artist Dale Chihuly officially broke ground today on a 1.5 acre exhibition space in the Seattle Center. The gallery will include a garden, bookstore and café. It’s set to open in the spring of 2012. Just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair.

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Business
9:20 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Senator Murray touts new jobs legislation

Senator Patty Murray said in Seattle yesterday that the best way to improve employment in the manufacturing sector is by updating the nations Workforce Investment Act and creating other similar programs.

It seems like everyone is talking about the J word lately. That would be JOBS. The President was on the road in the Midwest talking about them this week.

Now Democratic Senator Patty Murray spent a couple hours at a local Seattle factory talking about how to keep them, how to create them and how to train people for them.

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Other News
4:21 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Locke goes solo, causes Internet flurry

A screengrab from Sina Weibo shows the image of Gary Locke at SeaTac Airport Starbucks taken by a blogger named as TangChaohui_adSage.
CNN

The U.S. Ambassador to China and former governor of Washington– Gary Locke – is causing a stir after a candid photo of him surfaced on the internet.  

You’d think the ambassador had joined the ranks of American political figures who email bare-chested photos of themselves a la Anthony Weiner. But instead the picture causing such a sensation in Chinese media is of Locke and his seven-year-old daughter in front of a Starbuck’s counter at Sea-Tac International Airport.

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Business
2:10 pm
Fri August 12, 2011

The changing face of Rotary

Erin Simkins, 29, Is thinking about joining the Fremont Club. Rotary clubs, including Fremont's, are making an effort to recruit women.
Vanessa Romo KPLU

Mention Rotarians and most people's thought bubble consists of this: A group of older white guys in suits meeting for breakfast. But that's changing. In fact, there's a Rotary club in Seattle that's working hard to buck that stereotype.

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Home Foreclosures
6:05 pm
Fri August 5, 2011

Home listings fall in Seattle but worry remains

A decline in the number of homes for sale in the area has raised hopes the market is improving or at least stabilizing, but some analysts say it's actually proof of a bank foreclosure bottleneck.

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Earnings report
11:09 am
Fri August 5, 2011

Wealthy shoppers boost Blue Nile, but earnings less than dazzling

Even as the stock market takes stomach turning plunges this week, it’s still good to be a luxury item retailer.

Seattle’s online diamond jeweler, Blue Nile, put out its second quarter earnings report on Thursday. And though the numbers aren’t dazzling, they’re still on the rise.

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Worker retraining
5:30 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Tacoma workers laid off in 'Nalley Valley' getting federal help

A spread of Nalley's top products for a 1949 advertising campaign. Workers at the former Bird's Eye canning factory are getting federal help for retraining.
Richards Studio, Tacoma via Tacoma Public Library Archives

More than two-hundred workers who lost their jobs when the "Nalley Valley" canning plant in Tacoma closed last month are now eligible for special retraining through the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Program.

The newly unemployed, consider it a victory.

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Fourth-quarter report
5:30 pm
Thu July 21, 2011

Microsoft strong on revenue, weaker with consumers

Microsoft’s Office division continued to drive revenue growth for the company.
Associated Press

Microsoft reported good news for its investors, announcing record revenues for its final quarter earnings and the 2011 fiscal year. But one analyst said slumping sales in Windows shows the company has some weakness when it comes to consumers.

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Airline orders
6:20 pm
Wed July 20, 2011

Boeing promises fuel efficiency, snags new orders for 737s

Boeing says it has promised to make the engines on its 737 airplane more fuel efficient to retain customers.
Associated Press

American Airlines placed the largest aircraft order in history – 460 new planes. It split those orders between the European aircraft maker Airbus and Washington’s own Boeing. But whether or not it’s a good thing for the local aerospace company is all in how you look at it.

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Business
5:02 pm
Tue July 12, 2011

Another production slowdown for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner

Yet another delay in 787 Dreamliner production.
Andrew W. Sieber Flickr

For the fifth time, Boeing has stopped deliveries of airplane sections for its 787 Dreamliner from suppliers to the assembly line, once again slowing production.

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Business
4:43 pm
Tue July 12, 2011

Lynnwood bank gets millions from Fed to help small businesses

U & I Financial Corp, a small community bank in Lynnwood, is one of the first in the nation to get access to special funds from the Small Business Lending Fund – a federal program created to get cash flowing into the hands of small business owners.

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