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.

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

Trade groups back TDEC’s rollback of construction regulations

By: - August 20, 2021

Cindy Whitt and Judy Alexander, neighbors in the Westhaven subdivision in Williamson County for nearly 15 years, have watched their development grow from a small new-build subdivision of 500 homes to now more than 2,500. In that time, on their regular walks together, they’ve also witnessed the results of dwindling green space as construction has […]

A woman winces as she gets her COVID-19 vaccine during a pop-up clinic at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in South Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Vaccination rates of Tennessee youth among the lowest in the nation

By: - August 18, 2021

In Sullivan County, where COVID cases have tripled in the past two weeks, the local health department’s medical director has started to see a slight but notable shift among the attitudes of parents whose children are old enough to get a vaccine. Public schools have been back in session for just over a week, and […]

In Nashville last December, parents urging a return to in-person classes staged a protest at Metro Nashville Schools office. (Photo: John Partipilo)

School boards across state take heat from parents on masks

By: - August 16, 2021

Beth Simpson, a mother of five who sits on the Johnson City school board, laid out two stacks of printouts for dramatic effect, one to her right and one on her left, as she addressed an audience of parents growing increasingly impatient on Friday night.  “Most people are here because of masks,” Simpson said. “That’s […]

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

Tennessee lawmakers want to know if kids in state custody are getting vaccines; DCS isn’t saying

By: - August 11, 2021

As COVID infections rise among Tennessee children, two Democratic lawmakers say they have tried — and thus far failed — to learn how the state’s Department of Children’s Services is providing kids in their custody vaccinations. DCS bears the singular responsibility for the care and well-being of about 9,000 Tennessee kids at any given time, […]

Metro Public Healthy Molly Shine preps a vaccine while sister Maya and Sara Gana wait at a recent Nashville mobile vaccine clinic. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Vanderbilt to host virtual event about vaccine hesitancy

By: - August 9, 2021

Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy will host a virtual event August 18 at noon to “offer evidence-based context and perspective to de-escalate current heated rhetoric and dispel commonly held misunderstandings about vaccine development and efficacy. Panelist for the event, Vaccine Hesitancy: the Politics of Public Health in […]

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)

Workers describe “unmanageable” caseloads, high turnover and low morale at Department of Children’s Services

By: - August 6, 2021

Caseloads are too high, turnover is constant and morale has reached new lows, a March survey of workers responsible for protecting Tennessee children from abuse and neglect revealed. The internal Department of Children’s survey obtained by Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville, and Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville — released to reporters Thursday — included scores of comments […]

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

“This is real and this is happening”: Tennessee pediatricians urge masks, vaccines as kids’ COVID cases rise

By: - August 5, 2021

The pediatricians at Niswonger Children’s Hospital had an urgent message for the community they serve in the northeastern-most corner of Tennessee, where 46 new COVID cases in one day this week — 22% of all positive tests — were among kids under the age of 18. “It hurts me to say that in the past […]

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% […]