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

 (Portland)  The latest poll on this year's gubernatorial race bears an eerie resemblance to the 2010 election result.  Ther's Republican Paul LePage in first place with 38 percent support, just barely ahead of the second candidate with 37 percent and just 20 percent for the person in third place. The difference:  It's Democrat Mike Michaud who's second in the Pan Atlantic SMS poll, Independent Eliot Cutler a distant third.

Governor LePage appears largely alone in opposing legislation to expanded the availabiliy of Narcan.  Narcan, or naloxone, is a drug that can revive people who've overdosed on opiates.  Democratic State Rep Sara Gideon of Freeport says it must be given within one-to-three hours of an overdose.   If it is, Gideon says the drug can combat the effects of the opitate in a person's bloodstream.  The governor initially opposed expanded availability, then relented and supported allowing one family member  access to the drug.

Bowdoin College President Barry Mills will resign in June, 2015.      Mills is 63.  He's in his 13th year as president of Bowdoin.   Mills said in a statement that he is not retiring from work and will seek another ``professional challenge.''    College officials said the members of a search committee that will find a new president will be named in May.

Members of Maine's congressional delegation say the Maine State Ferry Service is receiving $1 million for upgrades to its boats and facilities.  U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree and Sen. Susan Collins announced yesterday the U.S. Department of Transportation is using the money for improvements that include a layover berth on Vinalhaven that could reduce trip cancellations and delays.  Pingree says funds will also go to repairs on a bridge on Swan's Island and a dock on Matinicus  Island.  The ferries also serve islands including North Haven, Islesboro and Frenchboro.

 The Maine House and State Senate are due to adjourn for the year on Wednesday.   Before then, the legislature must vote ona 30-million-dollar bill that will balance the state's budget for the fiscal year beginning in July.   There are also dozens of measures that have price tags that the legislature will be asked one final time to fund.  Most, maybe all, will fail.  After Wednesday, legislative leaders say they expect to return later this year to deal with more vetoes from Republican Governor LePage.

Rain and melting snow are keeping rivers running high in northern New England, increasing the chance of flooding.  Almost all of the region, along with northern-most New York State are under flood watches.The National Weather Service said minor flooding occurred Sunday morning along the Barton River in Coventry, Vt., and urged anyone traveling near streams and rivers to seek higher ground at the first sign of rising water.

The legislature's appropriations committee has found a way to balance next fiscal year's budget, but Governor LePage doesn't like it.It's because the budget document reduces expenditures by 20-million-dollars by extending the medicaid payment schedule for health care providers by two weeks.  LePage said yesterday, "We spent three and a half years to get a plan so we could pay off the hospitals and now they're telling me well you will delay payments to the hospitals, that's unacceptable." The governor's immediate leverage is limited.   The budget bill will need a two-thirds vote to pass.

        The idea of carving a national park out of Maine's north woods has been very controversial.  Opponents fear it would place large tracts off-limits to activities like hunting and snowmobiling.       Governor LePage suggested state lawmakers have a say by requiring legislative approval before anyone sells or gives more than 40 acres of land to the federal government.        Democratic State Senator Linda Valentino of Saco complained the bill would violate the property rights of Mainers.

Troy R. Bennett, BDN

It was standing room only last night at a hearing in Hallowell on Central Maine Power's proposal to levy an additional charge on customers that generate their own electricity. Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council was one of many voices in opposition to the charge. Voorhees told the Public Utilities Commission hearing, "The reason people invest in energy efficiency is to  is with the Natural Resources Council of Maine:

David Harry / The Forecaster

The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad says it will have a new place to run its trains. Thursday's Portland Daily Sun reports Central Maine Power is ready to donate a two-mile strip of land in Gray that the railroad could use to lay track. The paper also says there would be enough room at Gray Plaza for the museum to put up a building larger than its existing exhibit space on the Portland waterfront. The railroad has operated along a former rail bed that runs along the base of Portland's Eastern Promenade and along the waterfront to the city's Ocean Gateway cruise ship terminal.

  Look! Up in the night sky! It's a meteor, its an asteroid, its a falling satellite!

Host Irwin Gratz was joined by 

Neil F. Comins, Ph.D., Professor, Physics and Astronomy, University of Maine 

Nicole Hastings, Assistant in Instruction, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Bates College

and Jerry LaSala, Professor of Physics and Director of the Southworth Planetarium at USM

Fix the Debt

Feb 28, 2013

  Former Governor John Baldacci and former State Senate majority leader Rick Bennett will discuss why they joined the national 'fix-the-debt' coalition and what they think should be done to put our country's finances in order.

 Host Irwin Gratz was joined by:

Former Governor John Baldacci, co-chair of the Fix-the-Debt Maine Chapter

Former State Senate President Rick Bennett, co-chair of the Fix-the-Debt Maine Chapter

Citizen Science

Feb 5, 2013

  Take a look at a growing movement to get regular folks involved with scientific research and data collection such as participating in bird counts, monitoring water quality of lakes and streams or counting stars.

 Host Irwin Gratz was joined by:

Scott Williams, Executive Director,Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program

Jessica Leahy, Assistant Professor of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

Susan Gallo, Wildlife biologist with Maine Audubon

Smoking in Maine

Jan 31, 2013

  Tobacco addiction and what to do about it. What resources are available if you want to quit.

Host Irwin Gratz was joined by:

Hilary Schnieder, State Director of Government Relations for the American Cancer Society

Marla Davis with the American Lung Association of Maine

USM President Theo Kalikow

Portland Press Herald story on Smoking Ban on USM Campus

  Adolescents today face many of the same challenges all teens have - first jobs and first kisses, career choices and college applications. The advent of social media presents new pressures for today's teens.

Host Irwin Gratz was joined by:

Dr. Doug Robbins, Director, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Maine Medical Center

Caroline Levy, Falmouth HS senior

Mike Masic, Portland HS senior

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