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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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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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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