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 Maine Public Radio in 1990. He has been the local anchor of Morning Edition since September 1992.

Irwin served as chairman of the Maine Association of Broadcasters in 2015. 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 in journalism from New York University. Irwin won a Yankee Quill Award in 2011 from the New England Newspaper and Press Association for his “broad influence for good, both inside and outside the newsroom.”

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 seven Peaks Island-to-Portland swims. Irwin is married and has a teenage son.

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Unemployment in Maine rose slightly in July for a third straight month.

The increases have been just .1 percent and still leave the state with a very low 3 percent jobless rate. This marks the 32nd consecutive month that the jobless rate was under 4 percent. That’s the longest such period on record.

The state labor department said Maine added 5,700 non-farm jobs in the past year. 5,400 of those were in the private sector. All told, the state has 628, non-farm payroll jobs with 527,900 in the private sector. Governments employ an estimated 100,600 Mainers.

Evan Vucci / AP Photo

More than 300 newspapers are publishing editorials Thursday challenging President Trump's assertion that journalists are the enemy of the people.  The Bostons Globe launched the initiative.  It wanted newspapers throughout the country to respond to the president's representation of journalist's role in society.

Pat Wellenbach / Associated Press

When Vinalhaven resident and celebrated pop artist Robert Indiana died this spring, he left behind $50 million worth of art, and instructions to turn his home into a museum dedicated to his legacy.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

All this week we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the problem of eviction in Maine in a series called “Eviction: Life Unpacked.”

Unemployment rates rose slightly in June in all three of Maine's major urban areas.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday that Bangor's unemployment rate rose to 3.3 percent, up from 3 percent in May.

Portland-South Portland had a 2.7 percent jobless rate in June, up from 2.4 percent in May.

Irwin Gratz

PORTLAND, Maine - Despite a couple of setbacks, including a massive sewage release into Casco Bay, the waters were deemed clear enough for athletes to jump in and swim from Peaks Island to East End Beach on Saturday morning.

Maine's unemployment rate was 2.9 percent in June.  That was up from 2.8 percent in May.  But state Labor Department spokeman Glenn Mills says the figure is still down from the 3.5 percent rate in June of 2017.

"Yeah, I've been asked, 'How low can it go?' and, you know, it's really not clear," Mills says. "We've never been in this territory before, so, it's a good question, how low can it go?"

Unemployment in Maine has now been below 4 percent for 31 consecutive months, a record.  In New England, only New Hampshire had a lower jobless rate in June, of 2.8 percent.

Troy R. Bennett / Bangor Daily News

Thursday's Bangor Daily News - and Maine Public's Maine Calling program Thursday afternoon - will be focusing on so-called "sober houses." Haven't heard that term before?  You're not alone.

Portland Jetport is resuming flight operations, after a twin-engine propeller plane made a belly landing there Thursday morning.

No one was injured, but the incident forced a number of inbound flights to divert to other airports, and it left outbound travelers stranded for a couple of hours. The aircraft involved was lifted, its landing gear deployed, and was towed off the runway.

The Portland Press Herald reports the Federal Aviation Administration's database shows the plane is registered to a small Waterville carrier.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

Some students at Cheverus High School in Portland have gotten a lesson in current immigration issues: They made a trip to the southern border region with teacher Haley Malm. "It's definitely asking kids to come out of their comfort zone," Malm says. "And, it's not your typical fun summer camp."  One of the students Malm recruited was Danielle Whyte, who had just completed her freshman year at Cheverus.  Whyte spoke about the experience with Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.
      

The federal government says Mainer's personal income grew at a 4.6 percent annual rate in the first quarter of this year. That was just above the national growth rate, 4.3 percent, and just below the New England average, which was 4.8 percent.

The unemployment rates in Maine’s three urban areas remained pretty low in May.  

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday that unemployment in Bangor was 3 percent, in Lewiston-Auburn 2.8 percent, and in Portland-South Portland 2.4 percent. 

All of those figures were unchanged from April and at or below the comparable state figure of 3.1 percent.

A solid economy and an aging workforce are both acting to hold down unemployment in the state.   

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

The campaign over a home health care initiative on the November ballot began Tuesday – with its opponents.

Jesse Costa / WBUR

This weekend, Maine 1st District U.S. House Rep. Chellie Pingree went to the U.S. border in Texas, as part of a delegation of Democrats from New England who visited a dentention center for immigrants there.  Pingree tells Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz what she found out.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Friday is the last official day on the job for Maine Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais. He's been at his post a record seven years, and he shared lessons learned on the job with Maine Public’s Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

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