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.


6:55 am
Tue July 22, 2014

South Portland Tar Sands Ban Enacted

A tanker makes its way recently into the harbor in South Portland.
Susan Sharon MPBN

South Portland councilors last night enacted an ordinance that seeks to block any transport of Canadian tar-sands crude through the city. The vote was the same 6-1 majority that gave the ordinance preliminary approval earlier this month.

"It's an awesome accomplishment," says Emily Figdor of Environment Maine. "It really gives me hope that other communities that also are dealing with serious local impacts from tar sands infrastructure can come together and similarly protect what is so dear to them."

Read more
Skills gap
11:19 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Expert: Workforce Striving to Keep Pace with Changing Technology

John Dorrer, a consultant with Georgetown University's Center on Education in the Workplace.
Credit Irwin Gratz

"A workforce with superior skills is the key to economic growth and innovation."  Those are the words of John Dorrer, found in the latest "Maine Policy Review."   Dorrer, a consultant with Georgetown University's Center on Education in the Workplace, says Maine must be prepared to compete in a worldwide marketplace.  Dorrer talks with Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

Read more
9:07 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Presque Isle Wins Grant for Cultural Arts Center

The University of Maine at Presque Isle has been awarded $50,000 to help it develop a new, Northern Maine Center for the Cultural Arts.

"We have such a rich history of the arts here in northern Maine that we kind of keep to ourselves a lot," art professor Heather Sincavage says. "So, I think this building can be a spotlight to that, bringing people to the region to see what we have to offer."

Read more
Parks survey
11:27 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Portland Undertakes Survey of Parks and Open Spaces

The organization Portland Trails will be involved in the effort to survey the city's parks and open spaces.
Credit Irwin Gratz

The city of Portland is launching an effort to take stock of its parks and open spaces and plan for their future. Officials today announced they will work with The Trust for Public Lands and Portland Trails to complete the project.

At an event in Portland this morning, Portland Trails Executive Director Kara Wooldrik announced that her group has received an $18,000 grant from the Lerner Foundation that will be used to reach out for public comment.

Read more
8:31 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Maine Officials Warn of New Scam

David Leach with the state Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection says his department is hearing about a new scam involving government grants.

It starts with a caller who, Leach says, tells the person answering the phone, "'Hey, you know, we have selected you, because you're a good taxpayer, to receive a $7,000 government grant.' And, of course, the consumer is initially very excited. 'And you can use the money for anything you want, with the exception of lottery tickets and liquor.'"

Read more
7:27 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Lewiston Council Urged Not to Cut General Assistance to Asylum Seekers

Fatuma Hussein of United Somali Women of Maine last night urged Lewiston's city council to keep providing general assistance to undocumented immigrants. Hussein testified the aid provides a crucial, temporary "lifeline" for asylum seekers who've recently come to the region from Angola, Burundi, Rwanda and Congo.

"Many of them have experienced genocide," Hussein said. "Many of them are women or children. Women who have been exposed to violence, including sexual violence."

7:24 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Maine Jewish Group Holds Interfaith Vigil

The Jewish Community Alliance organized an interfaith vigil last night in Portland in response to the outbreak of attacks on Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas rocket attacks and Israeli air strikes followed the deaths of four teenagers. Louise Abramson of Falmouth says it makes her think about her 16-year-old son.

"I'm very troubled by what's happening." Abronson said. She expressed he hope that "we can all work toward peace and some understanding." She said the deaths of three kidnapped Israeli teens and the revenge killing of a Palestinian teen were "so unnecessary."

Read more
7:29 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Innovation in the Maine Economy — Part 2

This morning, a look at what innovation looked like in the 19th century. Our guide is Howard Segal, a history professor at the University of Maine. He wrote an essay for the current Maine Policy Review in which he pointed out Maine's economy that century was much more complex than people give it credit for.

Next week, a look ahead at the skills Maine needs to innovate in the 21st century.

Read more
10:32 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

Maine's Tourism Economy

Credit Maine Office of Tourism

Anyone who knows Maine knows tourism is a huge part of state's economy.  Join host Irwin Gratz for a discussion about how the tourist industry is faring so far this summer season.

Guests: Vaughn Stinson, CEO of the Maine Tourism Association

Amanda Rector, state economist at the Governor’s Office of Policy and Management

Matthew Arrants, director with Pinnacle Advisory Group, a national hotel consulting firm that works with hotel owners, developers, and investors around the country

Read more
7:06 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Collins Comments on Children Crossing Border During Senate Hearing

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told a Senate hearing yesterday that a presidential directive in 2012, aimed at protecting immigrant children, has contributed to a spike in unaccompanied minors coming across the U.S. southern border. Collins asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson what can reverse that:

"What, specifically is the administration doing to propose changes in the laws or regulations right now so that these children can be safely, and immediately put on planes and returned to their parents?" Collins said.

Read more