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.

A Nashville landfill, not operated by BFI. (Photo: John Partipilo)

‘Y’all are crappy neighbors’: Rutherford County residents slam landfill expansion plan at public hearing

By: - June 29, 2021

Rutherford county residents on Monday evening blasted a plan to expand a regional landfill located in fast-growing Murfreesboro suburbs that serves as the final destination for trash from 27 surrounding counties. Republic Services, operators of the Middle Point Landfill, have proposed expanding the controversial landfill by nearly 100 acres, lengthening its estimated 7 years of […]

(Photo: John Partipilo)

Law enforcement officials investigating report of abuse at Chattanooga facility for migrant kids

By: - June 16, 2021

State and federal authorities, along with local law enforcement, are investigating a report of child abuse at a Chattanooga facility that has come under fire from Tennessee’s Republican lawmakers for housing migrant children picked up by federal border authorities.  The abuse was reported to officials with the Department of Children’s Services, accompanied by an interpreter, […]

An analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that Black Tennesseans and essential workers are disproportionately affected by the legislature's failure to take federal funds to Medicaid. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Report: Essential workers, parents lose out on state’s refusal to expand TennCare

By: - June 11, 2021

Of the 119,000 Tennesseans who would qualify for state-funded healthcare insurance under a state Medicaid expansion, 28,000 are essential workers and 11,000 are parents with children at home, a new analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found. Tennessee is one of 12 states that has refused to expand its Medicaid program under […]

Gas stations with convenience stores are often the only source of grocery shopping for residents in low income neighborhoods. (Photo: John Partipilo)

State lawmakers cut big oil a big break

By: - June 9, 2021

Two weeks after the formal close of the Tennessee legislative season, a committee of lawmakers agreed to give the state’s petroleum companies a big break. The Joint Government Operations Committee approved new rules that shift the financial burden of cleaning up toxic spills at gas stations and truck stops from business owners to taxpayers for […]

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In Giles County, private probation companies profited from probationers

By: - June 1, 2021

Karen McNeil was arrested in 2015 for the misdemeanor offense of driving on a revoked license in Giles County.  What happened next nearly broke her.  Sentenced to four months of probation under the supervision of a private, for-profit company, McNeil’s life soon revolved around the demands of her probation officer.   Charged fees she could not […]

Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland sits with his face in his hands at a contentious meeting to discuss the Middle Point landfill in Murfreesboro. (Photo: John Partipilo)

While battles loom over landfills, Middle Tennessee hurtles toward a trash crisis 

By: and - May 24, 2021

From a lawsuit over the rejected expansion of a landfill in Nashville to the protracted political battle over closing the landfill in Murfreesboro, the urgency of Middle Tennessee’s trash crisis has increased in intensity in recent months. The situation has all the ingredients for a political logjam. Neighborhoods across the region have made blocking new […]

Report: $126M price tag for cleaning up Tennessee’s abandoned coal fields

By: - May 19, 2021

Tennessee has more than 14,000 acres of abandoned coal fields, but the cost of remediation —such as replanting trees and improving water quality — far outweigh the federal funding available to the state, a new report shows.  The report by the Ohio River Valley Institute, a think tank dedicated to examining Appalachia, concluded that the […]

Saddler Funeral Home in Lebanon, where Reid Van Ness stored bodies for months at a time. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Funeral board warns consulates against unlicensed Tennessee funeral director as more bodies go missing

By: and - May 13, 2021

Tennessee officials this week cautioned the Mexican and Guatemalan consulates in Atlanta against doing business with an ex-funeral director and embalmer who lost his licenses more than a year ago for failing to send bodies of deceased immigrants overseas for burial.

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Williamson Co. judge dismisses mask mandate suit, but is ‘unconvinced’ schools can require masks

By: - May 11, 2021

A Williamson County judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging mask mandates in public schools on narrow grounds, saying he remained “unconvinced” the county’s board of education has the authority to enact or enforce such rules. 

A Nashville landfill, not operated by BFI. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Waste Management sues Davidson County over landfill expansion rejection

By: - May 6, 2021

A fight over the future of a controversial landfill in Nashville’s predominantly Black Bordeaux neighborhood has now landed in court. Waste Management, the owner of the Southern Services Construction & Demolition landfill, filed suit in Davidson County Chancery Court after an oversight board rejected its plans to expand its 77-acre landfill by an additional 17 […]

Tyson Foods’ expansion in west Tennessee is pitting longtime farmers against one of the nation’s biggest protein suppliers

By: - May 3, 2021

BEECH BLUFF, TN — Larry Blankenship and his wife, Monica, lived in a trailer on his father’s farm for more than 30 years while saving for a home of their own. They finally did in 2019, moving into a pretty one-story ranch built where their trailer used to be.  But their joy was short-lived; the […]

License plate reading technology. (Photo: Getty Images)

Debate over license plate readers returns to Metro Council Tuesday

By: - April 20, 2021

A long-delayed debate over the use of license plate reader technology on Nashville’s public streets returns to Metro Council on Tuesday night with competing arguments over privacy versus over-policing. License plate readers—typically mounted on road signs, bridges, traffic poles and police cars —can capture thousands of digital license plate images each minute. Those images can […]