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.

Ways to Connect

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

On Monday, Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced new rules for tourists coming to Maine amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of abiding by a 14-day quarantine, visitors seeking lodging will need to certify that they've had at least one negative COVID-19 test - with some exceptions.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting many people's lives. To minimize those effects, Congress has appropriated trillions of dollars of spending to aid Americans. That money is going to have to be borrowed by a government already running huge deficits. How will that be possible? And what will it mean for the country in the long term? 

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

If you want to see the night sky in all its pristine dark glory, you could go to Antarctica. But if you can't, the International Dark-Sky Association says the next best place is Maine's Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

The U.S. Census Bureau says it will resume door-to-door delivery of census packets in Maine this Friday.

For more than a month, Maine has confronted the coronavirus, which is affecting all Maine people. Mainers living through this coronavirus economic slowdown are getting a glimpse of what happened in the Great Depression. Unemployment is soaring. Many are having trouble paying bills. Food pantries are seeing spikes in visits.

Maine’s Department of Corrections has released 43 percent of the youths it had detained before COVID-19 struck. Now, a collaborative effort is underway to support the kids being returned early to their communities.

The loosening of rules under Gov. Janet Mills’ latest order will allow hospitals and doctors to begin re-scheduling procedures and visits postponed over the last six weeks.

Adavyd / Wikimedia Commons

Steve Hewins' constituents may be some of the hardest hit economically by the spread of the new coronavirus. Hewins is the president and chief executive officer of Hospitality Maine, which represents restaurants, bars and hotels. He joined Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz to discuss Gov. Janet Mills' announcement that she intends to gradually reopen parts of Maine's economy over the next couple of months.

State officials say they have seen an increase in attempts to scam consumers in the past few weeks.

COVID-19 forced an early end to the annual town meetings held in many smaller communities around Maine. That has complicated life for municipal officials. Kate Dufour is director of the State and Federal Relations Department at the Maine Municipal Association. Dufour tells Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz that the association has been talking with Mills administration officials about these issues, including when cities and towns collect property taxes.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

After more than two decades as a Maine Supreme Court justice, Leigh Saufley is embarking on a new phase of her legal career as the dean of the University of Maine School of Law. Saufley rose to the top of a national search to head the law school that's fought in recent years to maintain healthy enrollment and finances. Saufley spoke with Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz about where the law school will be headed under her leadership, and what she got from serving as the state's top jurist for almost 20 years.

Zoe Sahloul and other members of the New England Arab American Organization are helping Muslims in Maine get the supplies they need to observe Ramadan.

More Mainers applied for unemployment assistance last week, but at lower rates than in previous weeks.

Maine Public File

According to an annual report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Maine ranks seventh in the country for its percentage of bridges rated "structurally deficient." 

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

The partial shutdown of the U.S. economy has had one healthful effect:  It has lowered air pollution by a significant amount. The American Lung Association is out with its latest State Of The Air report that looks at the longer-term trends. Joining Maine Public's morning host Irwin Gratz to talk about the report's findings is Lance Boucher of the American Lung Association of Maine.