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.

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.

(Getty Images)

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. 

The landfill operated by Waste Management in northwest Davidson County. (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 […]

Joan and Michael Berry, Johnia Berry's parents, in their Knoxville home. A portrait of Johnnia as a little girl hangs in the background. (Photo: Patrick Murphy-Racey)

‘A massive breakdown in the system’: Tennessee has failed to collect DNA from 76,000 violent offenders

By: - April 19, 2021

KNOXVILLE — After the brutal murder of their 21-year-old daughter in 2004—and in the years that followed without an arrest—Joan and Mike Berry channelled their grief, and their rage, into a fight for stronger victim protections. Johnia Berry was stabbed more than 20 times by a home intruder six weeks after she moved to west […]

Kevin Hawkins, who is homeless, grimaces as he gets the Johnson and Johnson vaccine from Deanna Hensley, RN, from Ascension/St. Thomas. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Mobile vaccine clinics target Tennessee’s homeless individuals

By: - April 8, 2021

Bobby Lloyd was hanging outside with friends in an empty east Nashville lot on Wednesday, enjoying the sunshine, when a doctor from Neighborhood Health walked by asking if anybody wanted to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Lloyd, 52, jumped at the chance, taking the short walk back with Dr. Peter Cathcart to the parking lot outside […]

Several hundred people gathered at East Tennessee State University to show support for basketball players who took a knee during the National Anthem at a February game and subsequent resignation of Coach Jason Shay. (Photo: Kate Craig)

ETSU kneeling controversy the latest in series of racially-tinged incidents at school

By: - April 7, 2021

In northeast Tennessee, a controversy over the decision by college basketball players to take a knee during the National Anthem continues to reverberate across the campus and community, with the looming possibility state lawmakers will act to punish any future protests by student-athletes at public campuses across the state. On February 15, players and coaches […]

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

Waste Management landfill refused Nashville flood debris after expansion request rejected

By: and - April 2, 2021

Less than one week after the Solid Waste Region Board rejected a proposal to expand a landfill in Bordeaux, the landfill’s owner told the city it could not accept flood debris cleared by Metro crews. Metro reached out to the Southern Services landfill owner, Waste Management, regarding disposal of debris from last weekend’s floods, a […]

Map of Tennessee sewage systems (Source: Southern Environmental Law Center)

For-profit sewage providers are seeking access to public funds, a move environmental groups oppose

By: - April 1, 2021

Last spring, neighbors in the River Rest Estates subdivision in Williamson County made an unpleasant discovery: a sewage-smelling sludge surging out of a manhole cover next to soccer fields in the community’s recreational areas. Strewn around the manhole were blobs of soiled toilet paper. In the nearby Cartwright Creek, some of the fish were dead. […]