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Meet the man who cares for Philly war memorials; Why Philadelphia has so many more women than men | Morning Newsletter

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Jimmy Moran, 75, who is the volunteer caretaker for the Philadelphia Vietnam War Memorial, looks over the American flag at the memorial in Philadelphia, PA on October 30, 2019. The flag needs to be replaced or repaired when it becomes worn.
Jimmy Moran, 75, who is the volunteer caretaker for the Philadelphia Vietnam War Memorial, looks over the American flag at the memorial in Philadelphia, PA on October 30, 2019. The flag needs to be replaced or repaired when it becomes worn.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

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This Veterans Day, read the profile of the 75-year-old man who has been caring for war memorials in Philadelphia. He keeps coming back to look after his brother’s name, one of 648 etched into the city’s Vietnam War memorial. And, an Inquirer reporter writes about his own struggles to measure up to his veteran father.

Also, The Inquirer analyzed census data to find that Philadelphia has the biggest gender gap of any major U.S. city: Women here outnumber men by about 90,000. We tell you why.

— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

No one is quite sure when Jim Moran became the caretaker of the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It just seems that for as long as the monument has been around, Moran, 75, has been there. Moran’s brother is one of 648 names etched into the city’s granite memorial.

Moran was there when the memorial was dedicated in 1987. Day after day, he came back and, naturally, he became the caretaker.

“When I started in 1987, I had one brother," he said. “Now I have 648.”

Philadelphia is the most predominantly female big city in the U.S. There are about 86 men for every 100 women in the city, according to an Inquirer analysis. The rest of the nation is more balanced: 51% women to 49% men.

So, where did all of Philadelphia’s men go? There are a number of factors for the city’s gender gap, including the criminal justice system, life expectancy, health issues, and more.

Some districts are bringing in substitute drivers who aren’t familiar with routes. Sometimes they double up on runs, which keeps kids on buses longer. Not only is the struggle to find school bus drivers impacting districts nearby, but, nationally, 24% of school districts reported having “severe” or “desperate” driver shortages, according to a survey.

It’s not as if you can take pretty much anybody off the street,” said the executive director of the Pennsylvania School Bus Association. Drivers have to go through hours of training, pass background checks, work split shifts, and spend time looking after students.

What you need to know today

  1. Sen. Pat Toomey vowed to be an “independent voice” as he fought for reelection in 2016. Trump’s impeachment inquiry could raise the stakes for the Pennsylvania Republican.

  2. The day before a man allegedly killed his family in West Philly, his mother sought help for him at a hospital. The hospital sent him and his mother on their way.

  3. Pennsylvania is leading the nation in prosecuting overdose deaths as homicides. That means the state is bringing charges against people accused of supplying the fatal dose of drugs. In response, defense lawyers are learning how to help their clients navigate cases that used to be fairly obscure.

  4. The chairman of Philadelphia’s Republican Party has resigned.

  5. Last week, the jury in a Bucks County murder case heard the taped confession in which Sean Kratz admits to his role.

  6. The next two months could determine the future of the bankrupt refinery that had a catastrophic explosion in June. It has gotten interest from 15 potential bidders.

  7. Coming out of last week’s elections, Philadelphia City Council is about to go through some changes. Here’s what you can expect.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

A picture like this might be one of the only benefits of the sun setting so early these days. Awesome picture, @bhalda.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s interesting

  1. A Trump tax cut was pitched as something that would help mom-and-pop businesses. But luxury real estate investors in Philly are benefiting, costing the federal government billions in revenue each year.

  2. A Pennsylvania institution is trying to see whether radical listening can transform prison culture.

  3. Penn’s law school got a record-setting donation of $125 million.

  4. Want to see Mercury in the sky? Today’s your last chance until 2032. But you’ll need some special equipment to do it.

  5. Horses are helping veterans and first responders with PTSD.

  6. A Real Housewives of New Jersey star has gotten so big that her lawyer is basically on call for her. This is how the lawyer juggles a reality TV star with other cases, such as getting another client to sign a plea deal in a murder case.


“All I know for certain is that Sgt. Jim survives. It’s a priceless quality, one I’d like to emulate. No, I don’t have war experience to draw on. But I can watch my father’s strength and grace, and learn. He has a lot to teach. The man is a veteran, after all.” — Inquirer reporter Alfred Lubrano writes about measuring up to his father.

  1. For Veterans, a sense of community can make all the difference, author Dava Guerin writes.

  2. Not only can you thank service members today, but you can volunteer to help them all year long, writes Anthony Murphy, a Vietnam veteran and the president and co-founder of the Philadelphia Veterans Parade.

What we’re reading

  1. Philadelphia magazine profiles a charismatic pastor with a bold plan for tackling poverty in the city.

  2. Local bakeries in France are disappearing, the New York Times reports. And, in some towns, baguette vending machines have popped up in their place.

  3. The tables have turned on Mark Zuckerberg in Silicon Valley, Vanity Fair writes. But it might not be for the reasons you think.

Your Daily Dose of | The UpSide

If you found a wallet left on the sidewalk, what would you do with it? And how would your kids react? There are ways to talk with children about honesty by talking through the truth of various statements. For example, “If I pay for something and get too much change, I return it.”