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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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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Business
9:51 am
Thu August 14, 2014

CMP Warns Customers of Scam

Central Maine Power Company says hundreds of its customers have called them to report a phone scam in recent months, designed to extort money.

"A customer will receive a call from someone claiming to be from the utility saying that their power will be cut off within the next hour or two if they don't make an immediate payment," says CMP spokesperson Gail Rice.

She says while the scam has been going on for a couple of years, there's been an uptick in the number of consumer complaints received in recent months — but the utility isn't sure why.

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Courts and Crime
9:48 am
Thu August 14, 2014

3 Accused of Digging Up Relatives' Bodies

Three men have been charged with digging up the remains of two relatives and moving them to another cemetery. Those arrested include Calvin Lewis of Limington, a former selectmen there, and his nephews Travis and Kevin.

The widow of one of the buried men says she was told of the move by one of the men and called the sheriff's office. The three have been ordered to appear in court November 18 to answer charges of abuse of a corpse.

FairPoint workers picket
11:05 am
Tue August 12, 2014

FairPoint Workers Picket Across Maine

A FairPoint worker picketing this morning at a rally in Portland.
Credit Tom Porter / MPBN

FairPoint Communications workers are staging informational pickets across Maine today amid talk of a strike. 

In Portland this morning, Krista Jensen said workers want the public to be aware of what's at stake when contract talks resume tomorrow.

"We're just letting the public know that we're looking for a fair contract and we need their support to keep the work here in the state," she said.

Jensen said outsourcing of FairPoint jobs to other states, or overseas, remains a major sticking point in the talks.

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Courts and Crime
7:36 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Report: Courts Promise Too Much, Deliver Too Little Restitution

If you're the victim of a property crime, a judge can order someone found guilty of the crime to make restitution to you.

"What we found out is that in the long run, that rarely happens," says Marina Villeneuve of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.

In a series of articles, beginning today, Villeneuve describes a system that promises too much and delivers too little restitution. I talked about this with Villeneuve and John Christie, editor-in-chief of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.

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Maine
9:58 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Adoption in Maine

Credit http://www.mainechildrenshome.org/

The history of the Maine Children's Home for Little Wanderers and answers to your questions about adoption - both domestic and international - in Maine.

Guests:  Sharon Abrams, LSW, Maine Children's Home executive director.
  Lindsay Bragdon, LSW, Maine Children's Home birthparent counselor post adoption, adoption caseworker, and search caseworker.
Jill Huard, former Maine Children's Home board president, and current board member. She is an adult adoptee.

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Farming innovations
8:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Maine Innovations: It's Not Your Grandparents' Farm

Farming in Maine has been rebounding. That's, in part, because of innovations in marketing, finance, farming techniques and new products made from Maine-grown ingredients. MPBN's Irwin Gratz talks about all that with John Piotti, executive director of the Maine Farmland Trust, and author of an essay on farm innovations in the current edition of the Maine Policy Review. Piotti says, despite what some may think, not all farming innovations are in the past.

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Your Vote 2014
12:34 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Cutler Wins Endorsement of Gun Control Advocates

William Harwood, of Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence, endorses Eliot Cutler, right, as Dr. Robert McAfee, center, looks on.
Credit Irwin Gratz

Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence today endorsed independent Eliot Cutler for governor. Board member William Harwood told reporters in Portland that only Cutler had demonstrated consistent, absolute support for universal background checks.

"On the issue of preventing gun violence, Eliot Cutler stands head and shoulders above his opponents, Mike Michaud and Paul LePage," Harwood said. "Cutler has not shied away from taking a firm stand on this controversial issue."

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Endowment campaign
2:39 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Maine Organic Farmers Group Launches Endowment Drive

Daniel Mays touts MOFGA's endowment drive at an event today at his farm, Frith Farm in Scarborough.
Credit Irwin Gratz

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association says it's launching a fund drive aimed at creating a $3 million endowment to support the group's educational programs.

A beneficiary of one of those programs is Daniel Mays, owner and manager of Frith Farm in Scarborough, where today's announcement was made.  Mays says he started out with plenty of energy, and lots of ideas about how to run a farm.

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Business
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

The South Portland City Council has voted to ban the export of Canadian tar-sands crude through the city, effectively ending any attempt to bring the crude from western Canada through a pipeline into the city. While there are no such plans in the work, Portland Pipeline Corporation Vice-President Tom Hardison spoke against the proposal.

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