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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Minimum Wage
3:27 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Poll: Mainers Support Minimum Wage Hike

Mainers support a raise for minimum-wage workers.  That's according to a new poll by the Portland Press Herald.

The publication reports that 75 percent of those surveyed support raising the federal minimum wage, no $7.25 an hour. Maine's state minimum wage is $7.50.

The strongest support for raising the minimum wage comes from Democrats. But even 59 percent of those who said they were Republicans said they support a hike in the minimum wage.

Minimum Wage
3:26 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Poll: Mainers Support Minimum Wage Hike

Mainers support a raise for minimum-wage workers.  That's according to a new poll by the Portland Press Herald.

The publication reports that 75 percent of those surveyed support raising the federal minimum wage, no $7.25 an hour. Maine's state minimum wage is $7.50.

The strongest support for raising the minimum wage comes from Democrats. But even 59 percent of those who said they were Republicans said they support a hike in the minimum wage.

Phthalate regulation
2:02 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Maine Salon Owners Press DEP for Answers on Phthalates

Kathy Kilrain del Rio, of the Maine Women's Policy Center, holds petitions that will be submitted to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
Credit Irwin Gratz / MPBN

Some salon owners in Maine say they want to know what's in some of the cosmetic products they use. They plan to deliver more than 400 letters today urging the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to require companies to report on whether any of four "phthalate" chemicals are in their products.

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Your Vote 2014
10:13 am
Fri September 26, 2014

New Breed of Political Ad Doesn't Need Voices

Bob Cott (left) and Sam Surprise.
Credit Irwin Gratz / MPBN

A different kind of political ad has appeared on YouTube. Produced by the Shenna Bellows for Senate campaign, it describes two votes it says Collins made last year in support of a government shutdown. There are no voices on the ad, only music behind images and text. Irwin Gratz discussed the 95-second video with advertising executives Sam Surprise and Bob Cott Wednesday, after the video had been released, but before a news conference yesterday about it.

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Your Vote 2014
7:30 am
Wed September 17, 2014

How are Maine Political Ads Working? Ad Execs Weigh In

Like the colors of early autumn foliage, broadcast political ads are appearing with increasing frequency. Advertising executive Sam Surprise has been watching, and says the crop of political ads so far is pretty typical for this point in a campaign. Surprise owns Surprise Advertising in Portland. He spoke with MPBN Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

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World
8:30 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Mitchell Calls for US to Mediate Peace Agreement in Middle East

As special U.S. Envoy to the Middle East, Sen. George Mitchell, left, meets with then-Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak at Hakirya, Tel Aviv, April 23, 2010.
Credit David Azagury / U.S. Embassy, via Creative Commons

Former Maine Sen. George Mitchell has made a new, public appeal for Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate a peace agreement, and for the U.S. to play a mediator role. It came in a series of three Boston Globe essays published last week.  Mitchell says settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is part of a broader, political solution to the problem of radical Islamists, like those who've declared an "Islamic State" on land in Syria and Iraq.  And he says it's possible the current Mid East leaders could be the ones to strike a deal.

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Business and Economy
7:40 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Maine's Economy, Now and in the Future

The economy spent the first half of the year lurching from decline during the winter to a strong rebound this spring. Where we might be now, and what may lie ahead, are subjects for a chat with Bruce McCain, the chief investment strategist for Key Private Bank.

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Your Vote 2014
8:30 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Your Vote: The Debate over Debates in the Maine Governor's Race

Labor Day - and the political high season - are upon us. As fall nears, we're intensifying our coverage of the campaigns, and we begin with Professor Amy Fried of the University of Maine. Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz talks with Fried about how the political dynamics are playing out as Election Day draws closer.

 

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Maine
3:34 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

It's Not Just This Weekend — Summer Traffic on Maine Highways is Getting Worse

Traffic on Interstate 95 in Augusta in June.
Credit Maine Department of Transportation

PORTLAND, Maine — Congestion on Maine's most heavily traveled highways has been in remission for most of the last decade. Blame the biggest declines in driving on the Great Recession. But now, it is beginning to make a comeback on Maine highways. And the ways officials are planning to deal with it are different than in the past.

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Ferry service
11:29 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Province to Seek More Support from Maine for Nova Star Ferry Service

The Nova Star ferry in Portland Harbor in April.
Credit Courtesy City of Portland

YARMOUTH, Nova Scotia - The Chronicle Herald of Nova Scotia is reporting that the province's economic development minister will travel to Maine to lobby Gov. Paul LePage for more direct support of the Nova Star ferry service.

Nova Scotia has put up $21 million to subsidize the restarted ferry service between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and Portland, Maine. But, what was supposed to be seven years worth of subsidy money has all been used this year.

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