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

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

An all-electric bus drove around downtown Portland at lunchtime Tuesday.  The Greater Portland Metro Bus system and the Shuttlebus-Zoom bus system serving Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Beach are considering ordering a few with funding from a federal grant.

At a press event in Portland, Al Schultz, general manager of the Shuttlebus-Zoom service, said the time for electric buses has come.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

President Trump, speaking in New Hampshire yesterday, detailed plans for confronting the country's opioid epidemic. In broad strokes, it calls for prevention and education advertising, improved funding for treatment and the death penalty for drug trafficking in certain instances. Dr. Mary Dowd is medical director at Milestone Recovery and has treated people suffering from opioid addiction for years. Dr. Dowd spoke with Maine Public Radio’s Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

The federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics is out with the latest unemployment data for Maine's three largest urban areas.

The jobless figures for Bangor, Lewiston-Auburn and Portland-South Portland were so low in December there was virtually nowhere for them to go but up – and they did. Bangor from 2.6 percent to 3.3 percent in January, Lewiston Auburn from 2.3 percent to 3 percent, and Portland-South Portland from 2 to 2.5 percent.

Those figures, along with state unemployment numbers, continue to point to a very tight labor market.

Amy Bass has written about Lewiston's experience absorbing thousands of Somali immigrants. Her lens is soccer. Her book is entitled “One Goal.” Bass talks with Maine Public Radio’s Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz about what inspired her to write the book about the Lewiston High School soccer team.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

As we reported Monday, students in the Bangor area are planning school walkouts Wednesday to urge lawmakers to make schools safe from gun violence.  Students at other Maine schools are also planning to join in the national walkout to demand tighter gun control laws. They are seen as a way of preventing future school shootings, like the one in Parkland, Florida last month.

Tasha Hipple is a student at Casco Bay High School in Portland and is one of the organizers of student walkouts in the Portland area. She spoke with Maine Public Radio's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

Caitlin Troutman / Maine Public/file

On Friday, the Maine Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee will decide whether or not to further investigate the Department of Health and Human Services' response to complaints after the killing in Stockton Springs of 10-year-old Marissa  Kennedy. Maine Public Radio's Steve Mistler joins Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz to take a look at that potential investigation.

Maine Public

President Donald Trump is expected to announce his steel and aluminum tariffs Thursday afternoon. U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine told CNN Thursday morning there is little doubt he will announce the import tariffs.

"I think the remaining question is, whether he's going to narrow the focus and focus on China, for example, or is it gonna be this blunderbuss approach that hits our allies harder than it hits China?" he said.

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.  

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