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 MPBN in 1990. He's been local anchor of Morning Edition since September, 1992.

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 Degree in Journalism from New York University.

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 5 Peaks Island-to-Portland swims. Irwin is married and has a young son.

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The Supreme Court ruled Monday against two Maine men who were caught with guns in violation of a federal statute.

Both Stephen Voisine of Wytopitlock and William Armstrong III of New Vineyard had misdemeanor domestic assault convictions.

PORTLAND, Maine - The personal income of Maine residents grew 1.4 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The increase was the second-highest in the U.S., and above the national average for personal income growth of 1.1 percent in the first quarter.

Three elements go into the personal income figures: wages people earn, interest and dividends, and benefits received from government, called transfer receipts.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percent in May. The state's jobless rate last month was 3.5 percent, up slightly from April's 3.4 percent.

But the unemployment rate is still down about a percentage point from where it was a year ago.

A usual, the job market was even tighter in greater Portland, where the unemployment rate was just 2.8 percent. Lewiston-Augurn was at 3.4 percent, the Bangor Metro area has a 3.6 percent unemployment rate.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's economy grew sluggishly in the fourth quarter of 2015. Statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis - or BEA - show the state's Gross Domestic Product grew at a 1.3 percent annual rate during the last three months of the year.

That figure lagged the overall U.S. growth rate of 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, and was below the New England average growth rate of 2.1 percent.

PORTLAND, Maine - There is a primary election in Maine Tuesday - not a presidential primary, just the usual every-other-year primary featuring races for Congress and the state Legislature, along with some local issues.  MPBN's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz talks with University of Maine at Farmington Political Science Professor James Melcher about the statewide ballot.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King is co-sponsoring a bill that would seek a way to prevent the kind of cyber attack that blacked out part of Ukraine last December. King described the incident in a speech on the Senate floor.

"The operator in one of the Ukranian power plants noticed, to his horror, that he no longer controlled the cursor on his computer screen," King said. "The cursor moved of its own accord and starting opening dialog boxes and opening breakers."

Irwin Gratz / MPBN

Kendall Morse has written a new book of Maine humor called “Father Fell Down the Well.” He has been storytelling in Maine since the early 1970s.

It’s been more challenging over the last 15 years, since cancer robbed him of his vocal cords.

Still, Irwin Gratz sat down recently with Morse in our Portland studio. Here’s a transcript of their talk:

Senior Colleges

May 26, 2016
https://www.flickr.com/photos/matzuva/

Maine has a network of 17 Senior Colleges where people who are 50 and older can take classes, volunteer, socialize and stimulate their minds.

Guests:

Anne Cardale, Program Coordinator for the Maine Senior College Network

Jack Lynch, Vice Chair of the University of Southern Maine’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Advisory Board, and he also is on the lecture series planning board and is a popular OLLI teacher and avid student.

The Schooner Bowdoin framed by an ice floe above the arctic circle
Tom Stewart

The Arctic Schooner Bowdoin is approaching its centennial. The ship was built for Captain Donald MacMillan in 1921, a graduate of Bowdoin College who designed the vessel for voyages into what was, then, still largely uncharted northern waters.

The Maine Warden Service yesterday offered a detailed, written response to the story about game wardens in last Sunday’s Maine Sunday Telegram.

The story describes a poaching raid in Allagash that some experts found was over the top. And it describes an undercover warden who went so far as to illegally kill a deer in a bid to entice someone else into poaching.

This morning, MPBN begins a major expansion of public radio service to Maine.  We are launching our Maine Public Classical channel, which will broadcast some 160 hours of classical music programming, plus jazz, "Down Memory Lane" with Toby Leboutillier, and other offerings.  Irwin Gratz, of Maine Public Radio, talks with President Mark Vogelzang about the changes.

NASA via YouTube

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Mercury makes a relatively rare move across the sun Monday.

PORTLAND, Maine - Unemployment fell in all three of Maine's metropolitan areas last month. Figures out today from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that joblessness in greater Bangor fell from 4.3 percent in February to 4.1 percent in March.   

In Portland and South Portland, the unemployment rate fell from 3.3 percent in February to 3.1 percent last month.  Lewiston-Auburn saw the biggest decline - from 4.1 percent to 3.8 percent.

PORTLAND, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage has responded to yesterday's complaints that he held an illegal, private meeting with a blue-ribbon commission on education.

LePage, appearing on WVOM Radio in Bangor this morning, told hosts Ric Tyler and George Hale that "they made a big s--- show out of it and, as of yesterday afternoon, I have withdrawn the executive branch from that group."

Courtesy of the McKeen family

We learned Thursday that our friend and former colleague Keith McKeen died this week of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He had just turned 73.

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