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)

Elected officials add voices to debate over Nashville landfill in Black neighborhood

By: - March 24, 2021

A public oversight board will meet Wednesday to weigh the future of a landfill in northwest Nashville that takes in 90 percent of all construction waste generated in the city but will reach capacity within the next three years.  For decades, the Southern Services landfill has been the final destination for debris from commercial and […]

Molly Anderson, with husband Joshua, has advocated that text-to-911 be available in every Tennessee county. (Photo: Submitted)

Bill requires local emergency centers to accept texts from 911

By: - March 24, 2021

When Molly Anderson got into a wreck last March — crashing her car into a hearse loaded with a coffin on busy Knoxville highway — she wasn’t hurt but she needed help. The problem: Anderson cannot speak, a result of a speech disability she has had since birth. In tears and feeling helpless, Anderson relied […]

Paris Landing State Park (tn.gov)

State parks sexual harassment lawsuit can go forward, Tennessee Court of Appeals rules

By: - March 18, 2021

A sexual harassment lawsuit against the state of Tennessee by a woman who claims she was assaulted by a supervisor at a staff Halloween party in Paris Landing State Park will be allowed to go forward, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled. Kelly Phelps is one of at least five female state employees who alleged […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Reports of child abuse in Tennessee plummeted last year. That trend is beginning to reverse.

By: - March 16, 2021

In the first week after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic, the number of calls coming into a Tennessee child abuse hotline fell by more than a third. It was the beginning of a trend that persisted throughout 2020, alarming child welfare officials and child advocates who feared that fewer […]

Cumberland County Courthouse (Photo: Cumberland County Facebook)

Cumberland County in lawsuit with U.S. Department of Justice

By: - March 10, 2021

Over a three year period− between February 2015 and February 2018 — the director of Cumberland County’s solid waste services is alleged to have subjected at least 10 women to unrelenting sexual harassment. Michael Harvel forcibly kissed, fondled and propositioned the women for sex, according to the women’s accounts.   He put his hands under their […]

(Art: Getty Images)

COVID-19 numbers plummet among disabled with vaccine rollout

By: - March 9, 2021

The numbers of new COVID infections among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and staff who care for them, decreased by more than 80 percent from December 2020 to February 2021, according to newly released data from the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Tennessee was the first state in the nation to prioritize people […]

(Photo: Darrin Klimek/Getty Images)

Report: Tennessee rural jail expenses climbing

By: - March 5, 2021

While Tennessee’s biggest cities have reduced their jail populations, suburban and rural counties increased incarceration rates —and local spending on jails — according to a new report by the Vera Institute of Justice which includes an online tool to examine trends in each of the state’s 94 local lockups. Expenditures fluctuated widely from county to […]

Scott Finney has served as an advocate for himself and others for years. (Photo: Submitted by The Arc Tennessee)

Tennessee prioritizes COVID-19 vaccine for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities

By: - March 3, 2021

There was a “terrible spell” beginning last October, when 22 individuals with disabilities fell ill in group homes or other programs operated by Development Services of Dickson County. Katie Powers, associate executive director of the nonprofit organization, said she watched helplessly as one in every five individuals aided by her agency got sick with COVID, […]

Kwame Leo Lillard in front of the Freedom Riders mural on Jefferson Street in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Nashville’s Freedom Riders: HBCU students risked all to end segregation

By: , and - March 2, 2021

On Feb. 27, 1960, John Lewis, then a student at American Baptist College, joined other college students in Nashville as they sat down at the “whites only’’ lunch counter at Woolworth’s in the heart of downtown to begin their work integrating the city’s stores. Students at HBCUs, including Tennessee State University, Fisk University, Meharry Medical […]

Lara Castillos featured

State to investigate new allegations that Tennessee funeral director continues to exploit grieving immigrant families

By: and - February 25, 2021

A Tennessee funeral director and embalmer who surrendered his licenses early in 2020 after he failed to return bodies to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala for burials has continued to offer funeral services in immigrant communities — and, in at least one recent instance, neglected for months to deliver remains to a grieving family. Roommates and […]

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)

Non-profit clinics struggle to get underserved Tennesseans vaccinated

By: - February 24, 2021

Over the past decade, Patricia Carswell, 73, and James Burroughs, 84, forged a friendship as neighbors, each living alone in separate studio apartments in a Nashville high rise building for low income seniors. The pandemic has been tough on both of them. Burroughs can no longer spend his days in the game room, where he’d […]

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

A Tennessee funeral director made promises to immigrant families; he didn’t deliver

By: and - February 11, 2021

Ramy Jadiel Ajualip Primero, the baby in his family, died unexpectedly at just 18 months old. He was rushed to the hospital after experiencing convulsions. A grim prognosis ensued. With no hope for recovery, the boy was taken off life support 15 days later.  In shock, Ramy’s parents were certain of one thing: they wanted […]