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

Mainers' incomes rose 1.1 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to new figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  The increase marked a reversal from the fourth quarter of last year, when personal incomes in Maine fell overall. 

This time, the state registered the 20th best performance in the country, growing slightly faster than the nation as a whole, which saw an increase of 1 percent. 

Federal officials are talking with senators today about how states and localities can protect elections from hacking by outside countries.

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine asked Jeanette Manfra of the Department of Homeland Security if states and localities are adopting “best practices” suggested by the department.

“I’d have to get back to you on a specific number of states, I don’t have that,” Manfra said.

“You think most states have?” Collins said.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said the tally of votes from last week's bond issue referendum shows it passed about 62 percent to 38 percent, though it is still unofficial.

The $50 million in borrowing is meant to fund grants that will upgrade equipment, often needed by schools or businesses to attract other money for research and development projects.

Dunlap says his office will be certifying the vote totals tomorrow.

 In this April 26, 2017, photo, gas is pumped at a filling station in Nashville, Tenn. By air or car, summer 2017 travel numbers are expected to rise over the previous year thanks to deals on airfares and stable gasoline prices.
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file

If you filled the tank this week, you might have noticed gasoline prices are down about a nickel-a-gallon in the last week. It’s the biggest price change in a while. GasBuddy.com analyst Patrick DeHahn says it’s the result of “a fairly organized” drop in the price of crude oil.

Susan Walsh / Associated Press

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine says the Senate's Russia election probe could take most of the rest of this year.

King, appearing on NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday, said the Senate Intelligence Committee is far from being able to accuse, or clear, Trump campaign officials or the president of any wrongdoing.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

It's approaching crunch time in the Maine Legislature.  That means a few weeks of increasing amounts of increasingly significant business.  Maine Public Radio's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz talks with Mal Leary at the State House about what legislators are up to, and what they are facing.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

Northern Ireland trade consultant Mark O'Connell will tell a Maine audience Thursday that he's taking a wait-and-see approach to Donald Trump's election and the British vote to exit the European Union.

 

"We all need, sometimes, to be given a little bit of a, sort of, wake-up call,” O’Connell says, “that what we've been doing forever - effectively or ineffectively - may not be, you know, sustainable.

 

Maine’s unemployment rate was 3 percent last month, unchanged from March.

State Labor official Glenn Mills says the state’s labor market is pretty tight right now and that’s starting to show up in worker paychecks.

FILE: Senate Armed Services Senate Committee member Sen. Angus King, I-Maine questions Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Maine Senator Angus King told the PBS Newshour last night, the Senate Intelligence Committee will have to meet with new special counsel Robert Mueller to coordinate the investigations into Russian meddling and the Trump Administration:

“We don’t want to get in each others way, King said. “We don’t want to offer immunity, or have them offer immunity that would compromise either one of our investigations.”

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

An index of real estate activity in Maine has hit a new high.  

"It's pretty exciting," says Paul Peck, president of the Maine Real Estate and Development Association. "The real estate market is strong. All segments are strong. It's great for employment. It's great for the state. It's great for tax revenue."

Peck says the state's major urban areas and their immediate suburbs are seeing the strongest growth. He says developers are building a mix of residential, retail and commercial projects, reflecting modern desires to live in more walkable communities.

Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday that it may be time for the Justice Department to look at the possibility of appointing an independent counsel to investigate questions surrounding President Trump's dealings with former FBI chief James Comey.

But Collins, a Republican, told NPR's Morning Edition, "we may have it backwards. Perhaps it would be more effective if the congressional hearings and investigation were completed.  Because that would be a far broader inquiry and more evidence will come out."

Maine ended last year with sluggish economic growth.  

Figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show that the state's gross domestic product grew by a rate of less than 1 percent - seven-tenths of a percent - in the fourth quarter of 2016.  

That was slightly better than the four-tenths of a percent growth rate in the third quarter, but well shy of the more than 3 percent growth rate the state generated in the final quarter of 2015.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press/file

Republican members of Maine's congressional delegation continue to resist calls for a special prosecutor in the wake of President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, splitting with their Democratic counterparts on the issue.

Sen. Susan Collins says she remains confident that the FBI can investigate any Trump campaign ties to Russia.  Collins spoke to the PBS Newshour Tuesday, shortly after Comey's firing.

PORTLAND, Maine - Gas prices in Maine are down nearly four cents a gallon over the past week.  

Patrick DeHahn, an analyst with online price tracker Gas Buddy, says several factors are at work, including lower demand in the U.S.

"As we approach the summer driving season, there's an anticipation that demand goes up," DeHahn says, "and, so far at least this year, demand has been off of last year's high.  According to the Energy Information Administration, year-to-date consumption is down by about 3.5 percent."

Joel Page / Associated Press/file

PORTLAND, Maine - When Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage nominated a successor to Public Advocate Tim Schneider, perhaps no one was more surprised at his choice than the man he picked, Barry Hobbins. Hobbins, a longtime Democratic state legislator, will go before a legislative confirmation hearing May 9.  Hobbins talks with Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

Pages