Author

Anita Wadhwani

Anita Wadhwani

Anita Wadhwani is a senior reporter for the Tennessee Lookout. The Tennessee AP Broadcasters and Media (TAPME) named her Journalist of the Year in 2019 as well as giving her the Malcolm Law Award for Investigative Journalism. Wadhwani is formerly an investigative reporter with The Tennessean who focused on the impact of public policies on the people and places across Tennessee. She is a graduate of Columbia University in New York and the University of California at Berkeley School of Journalism. Wadhwani lives in Nashville with her partner and two children.

In grainy still photos cropped from video sent to the Tennessee Lookout by staff at the Tennessee Department of Children's Service, a teen sleeps on the bare floor while another lies on an air mattress with no blanket. (Photo: submitted)

Dixie calls for Department of Children’s Services investigation

By: - August 2, 2021

Rep. Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville is calling on the chairs of the legislative Government Operations Committee to conduct an investigation into the Department of Children’s Services after the Tennessee Lookout reported kids in state custody are being forced to sleep on the floor of state office buildings. “Recent reports of children in state custody sleeping on […]

In grainy still photos cropped from video sent to the Tennessee Lookout by staff at the Tennessee Department of Children's Service, a teen sleeps on the bare floor while another lies on an air mattress with no blanket. (Photo: submitted)

Kids in state custody forced to sleep on floors in state office building

By: - August 2, 2021

A teenage girl in a pink hoodie and jeans slept restlessly in a downtown Nashville office, with no pillow, sheet, blanket, mattress or pad separating her from the carpeted floor. Another teen slept directly on the floor, too, huddled under a single blanket. A few feet away, two elementary-school-age kids slept head to toe on […]

Drama Bryant, 38, with her brother Jay, 32, on the front porch of their family's home in Greene County. She is his primary caretaker. (Photo: John Partipilo

Tennessee families struggle with state agencies to get home-based care for those with disabilities

By: - July 29, 2021

MOHAWK, Tenn. — Drama Bryant’s entire life has revolved around caring for her little brother, Jay, who — at 32 years old — requires 24/7 assistance as a result of congenital conditions that leave him unable to eat, bathe, go the bathroom, speak or walk unassisted. Jay Bryant has Down syndrome and autism, suffers seizures, […]

Maya Gana, 13, was pleased to become vaccinated during a pop-up clinic at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Department of Children’s Services not tracking vaccines for kids in custody

By: - July 27, 2021

The Department of Children’s Services has stripped its references to the “critical importance” of the COVID vaccine from guidance given to foster parents and removed from its website complete data on the number of kids who have gotten sick. The agency has also failed to respond to questions since last week about whether it is […]

 COVID-19 Nurses at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in protective gear. (Photo: John Partipilo)

‘Going in the wrong direction’: positivity rates surge in 10 rural Tennessee counties

By: - July 26, 2021

In 10 rural Tennessee counties, a key indicator of COVID-19 spread — the testing positivity rate — is surging to levels not seen since the spring. Positivity rates measure the number of positive tests among all those testing for COVID-19.  In June, Tennessee was seeing a positively rate, also known as “attack rate,” under 3% […]

A stretch of the Duck River in Marshall County where a water treatment plant is proposed. Courtesy: Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

With growth comes the need for new drinking water sources in Marshall County

By: - July 19, 2021

Marshall County, located outside what was once considered the boundary edge of growing suburbs circling Nashville, has seen explosive growth of its own in recent years — call it the Williamson County overflow effect, says County Mayor Mike Keny. Drawn by more affordable housing, jobs and the rural character of the county — about an hour […]

A controversial quarry near farmland in Wilson County was ordered to stop work after beginning blasting without a permit. (Photo: Wilson County)

Wilson County residents push back against state efforts to approve limestone quarry

By: - July 14, 2021

Marsha Midgett and her husband have been raising livestock on family land owned for generations in east Wilson County, but she now worries that the state’s steps toward approving a permit for rock mining quarry may put the future of their farm in jeopardy. The Midgetts rely on wells for drinking water. Ponds on their […]

Southern Services Landfill in Nashville's Bordeaux community. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Controversial plan to expand Middle Point Landfill rejected

By: - July 9, 2021

A regional board, meeting in Murfreesboro on Friday evening, rejected plans to expand a household waste landfill in Rutherford County — a decision with far-reaching consequences for surrounding counties that rely on the Middle Point facility to take in residents’ trash.  The landfill is the only facility in Middle Tennessee that takes in household garbage. […]

Mexican migrant workers in the tomato fields at Henderson Farm, Rhea County. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Lookout in Brief: USDA seeks public comment on racial justice and equity in program access

By: - July 7, 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public input on its record of racial justice, equity and access for underserved communities. The federal agency oversees a vast amount of programs that include SNAP — commonly referred to as “food stamps,” summer food programs for kids in poverty and loans and subsidies for farmers. The public […]

Evidence collection kit. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tennessee turns to Portland, Oregon model for ending rape kit backlog

By: - July 6, 2021

In Portland, Oregon, more than 5,000 untested rape kits were discovered in evidence storage lockers in 2015. Three years later, the backlog in testing those kits was down to almost zero and five suspects had been convicted. Tennessee law enforcement officials are now looking to the Portland model to provide justice and accountability for sexual […]

Arnoldo Garcia gets help from medical assistant, Jasmin Garcia at the Neighborhood Health clinic in Madison. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Unemployed Tennesseans may now qualify for free heath insurance

By: - July 2, 2021

Tennesseans who collected as little as one week in unemployment insurance in 2021 can now qualify for free — or nearly free — health insurance through the federal healthcare marketplace. As part of the American Rescue Plan COVID relief package signed into law by President Joe Biden, individuals who received — or are approved to […]

An apartment building under construction on McEwen Drive in Franklin. (Photo: staff)

State regulators plan to loosen runoff rules at construction sites

By: - June 30, 2021

A state plan to rollback longstanding regulations for construction site runoff is drawing opposition from environmental groups who fear that Tennessee creeks ands streams will suffer. Stormwater discharges from construction sites —rainwater that sweeps soil or other particles off-site — can flow into nearby waterways, often creating silt deposits that impact aquatic life and water […]