Irwin Gratz

Morning Edition Producer

Irwin was born and reared in New York City and, while he never hiked miles to school, he did walk up six flights of stairs every day to the apartment his family lived in until he was nearly 19. Irwin remains a lover of subway rides, egg creams, and the New York Mets.

He moved to Maine in 1978 and worked a dozen years in commercial radio in Sanford, then Portland, before beginning to freelance for Maine Public Radio in 1990. He has been the local anchor of Morning Edition since September 1992.

Irwin served as chairman of the Maine Association of Broadcasters in 2015. From September 2004 to October 2005, Irwin served as national president of the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization. He holds a master’s in journalism from New York University. Irwin won a Yankee Quill Award in 2011 from the New England Newspaper and Press Association for his “broad influence for good, both inside and outside the newsroom.”

Irwin also has an interest in astronomy, which he indulges to this day as an occasional show presenter at the Southworth Planetarium in Portland. And he swims, a lot. Irwin has completed seven Peaks Island-to-Portland swims. Irwin is married and has a teenage son.

Ways to Connect

Longtime peace activist Sally Breen has died.

Born in Texas, Breen moved to Windham in 1987. By then, she told Maine Public in 2005, that she had been a peace activist for 20 years.

As recently as last year, Breen was writing letters to the editor drawing attention to the dangers posed by climate change and nuclear weapons.

Breen died of cancer on Valentine's Day. She was 82 years old.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Maine Lobstermen's Association President Dave Cousens has watched the industry grow over nearly 30 years. "You know, it's like rolling Lucky Sevens going into a casino," he says. "I mean, we've been doing everything good, and everything's happened right with the environment for the last 20 years. Things are now probably going to go the other way." Cousens announced his retirement earlier this month and will hand off the baton at this weekend's Fisherman's Forum, in Rockport.  Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz caught up with Cousens to discuss his years at the helm of one of Maine's most prominent industries.

This fall Mainers may be able to vote on a citizens’ initiative for state-funded home care for older residents and adults with serious disabilities.

The Secretary of State's office has confirmed the home care initiative has gathered enough petition signatures to get on the ballot.

Ursula Coyote

Bangor resident David Thibodeau is helping reframe one of the most captivating domestic conflicts in U.S. history.

Thibodeau survived the 51-day standoff between the Branch Davidians and FBI agents outside Waco, Texas, in 1993. He later recounted his story in “A Place Called Waco: A Survivor’s Story,” a book that is one of the texts used by producers of TV miniseries currently airing on the Paramount Network.

Morning Edition Host Irwin Gratz spoke with Thibodeau about surviving Waco.

Courtesy John Biewen

At the University of Southern Maine Saturday, audio journalist John Biewen, the host of the program Scene on Radio, and scholar Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika will present one part of an audio series about "whiteness" and race, with a focus on racism in the North.

The talk comes just weeks after a Maine town manager was fired for posting racist comments online.

Biewen talked recently with Maine Public Radio's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz, who asked him about an episode where Ojibwe tribe members in Wisconsin are harassed over traditional fishing rights.

Maine Public/file

Maine Public's Robbie Feinberg reported recently on the coming increase in pre-k school programs around the state. In the western Maine town of Fryeburg, Superintendent Jay Robinson says he'd like to offer pre-k programs, but his district won't be doing that this fall. In an interview with Maine Public Radio's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz, Robinson explains why.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public/file

Brett Miller returns to offer his outlook on the economy.  Miller is senior portfolio manager for Key Private Bank in Portland.  He talked with Maine Public Radio's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

Karen Luse

The last couple of months have seen a rise in young people turning to the law to address climate change. Some are suing the Trump administration in federal court over government's failure to protect against climate change. Here in Maine, a group of young people and voters is petitioning the Department of Environmental Protection to address carbon emissions in the state. Twenty-year-old Jessica Szetela is one of the signers of that petition.  She spoke with Maine Public’s Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.  

A new system for filing unemployment claims remains broken, according to some state lawmakers.

State Rep. Ryan Fecteau says he and other elected officials continue to receive complaints about problems with signing into accounts online, and reaching system administrators by phone.

Fecteau says those problems are directly impacting people's financial stability. "The issue now is that folks who should have been receiving a benefit quite a while ago, they aren't receiving a benefit, and therefore haven't been paying bills, because they just can't."

Maine's economic growth accelerated in the third quarter of last year. The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis says the state's gross domestic product - or GDP - was growing at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the July-to-September quarter.

A federal appeals court is now deciding if a Maine student with autism has the right to record his entire school day. 

Ben Pollock's parents say their son's inability to tell them what goes on during his day at school made them want to record it for themselves.  SAD 60 argues that would violate other students' privacy and is unnecessary.

The case has gone on for years and many of the arguments before the appeals court were about earlier judgments.  Those judgments, based on a federal law known as IDEA, found Ben didn't need to record his day to progress at school.

Portland city councilors will be asked Monday to get the ball rolling on a city-wide property revaluation.  

State law requires communities to make sure assessments stay close to actual market prices for property.  City Assessor Christopher Huff says Portland's assessments are drifting off target.

"We're pretty certain that we'll be under - at or under - that 70 percent ratio by about fiscal year '21, possibly even fiscal year '20 and that's why we're just trying to be proactive," Huff says. "This is something we're going to have to do." image

Maine is bracing for an ocean storm that will track close enough to the state Thursday to produce heavy snow.

“We are expecting about 8-12 inches throughout most of southern and western Maine and, once you get toward Penobscot Bay and points to the east, 12-18 inches plus are possible, certainly from Penobscot up through Washington County,” says Tom Hawley with the National Weather Service in Gray.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

As the year ends, we look back on the lives of some memorable Mainers. They defended people in court and on the battlefield, created great art and moving music, shaped public policy and gave us an official state soft drink.

Mainers' personal income rose half-a-percent in the 3rd quarter of this year. 

Nearly all of the gain came in the form of higher earnings, according to the Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. 

As usual, the health care industry generated the biggest share of the gain in personal income.  Construction had a good quarter as well.  But income from farming and fishing fell slightly.