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Note to HALO Monthly recipients: Whether or not you are able to make a donation to HALO, you will continue to receive the newsletter. However, there are expenses involved in producing a quality newsletter. Therefore, we suggest an annual donation of $25.00 for HALO membership, which includes our newsletter. Of course, donations in any amount to support the work of HALO will be gratefully accepted. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Please send checks only to: HALO, P.O. Box 324, Chisago City, MN 55013. Credit card donations may be securely made on the DONATE page of our website, www.halorganization.com/donate/
Welcome to this edition of the HALO Monthly. This e-newsletter provides opportunities for HALO to share information about current healthcare issues, events, contributions from members, answers to prayer, and other relevant information. Please share your ideas and suggestions with us.
 

HALO MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization is to promote, protect, and advocate for the rights of the medically vulnerable through direct patient and family interactions; through community education and awareness programs; and through promotion and development of concrete *"life-affirming healthcare"* alternatives for those facing the grave consequences of healthcare rationing and unethical practices, especially those at risk of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

*"Life-affirming healthcare" is defined as medical care in which the paramount principle is the sanctity of life, which means that the life and safety of each person come first and each person receives medical care across their lifespan based on their need for care and never with an intention to hasten death, regardless of their abilities or perceived "quality of life."

Action Needed to Save Lives




I’m writing this column just a couple of days before the 4th of July, Independence Day, as many Americans are planning how they will celebrate. Amidst the festivities, I pray that we will not forget the cost of our freedom. Thankfully there are people willing to fight for what’s right and to safeguard our human rights despite the many costs, including their lives.
The Declaration of Independence declares that “all men [meaning all human beings] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life.” Respect for this precious right to life, however, is being eroded away as our culture increasingly adopts the mindset that certain lives are burdens or not worth living. In fact, some of us are experiencing subtle pressure to choose to die, which at times intensifies to a sense of obligation to kill oneself. This is evidenced by the “right to die” laws that have been adopted in the United States, Canada, and other countries. In turn, a life-endangering form of “healthcare” has emerged.
“Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death” is a documentary produced by Kevin Dunn in association with The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. (The EPC’s executive director, Alex Schadenberg, is a member of HALO’s Board of Directors.) “Fatal Flaws” relays heartbreaking personal stories that reveal a myriad of problems associated with the legalization and practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide. (Watch a preview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOqAfeJxuZI.) Also, HALO publishes families’ personal stories which illustrate how healthcare, in many places, can no longer be trusted to treat all patients as equally deserving of lifesaving and/or life-sustaining treatment and care. In fact, in many of these cases, healthcare providers have ended patients’ lives by underhanded means.
Reflecting on this grave state of affairs, we urge you to ask yourself, “What can I do to help and give hope to others? How can I get more involved in the movement to restore a culture of life in our nation and throughout the world? What am I willing to sacrifice to protect the right to life of all human beings?”
Recently, I ran across a speech from one of our great patriots, Patrick Henry, given on March 23, 1775. This excerpt reveals a timeless malady and sadly pertains to our current culture of death and, in many cases, our indifference to truth.
We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
God has opened the eyes and ears of some people to the painful truth of the need to provide life-affirming care for patients who are in danger. This month, we feature an inspiring article by Ed and Nan Weber, who opened Loreto On The Plains Personal Care Home—"an alternative approach to the crisis facing the infirm elderly”—ten years ago. They now have big plans for what they call “A New Pathway of Care” and invite others to find out more about this exciting approach to healthcare in a loving, home-like setting.
In last month’s newsletter, (June), we shared the wonderful news of another response to the need for life-affirming medical care—the planned Casa USA medical center. Such facilities are essential as we strive to provide care for patients whose lives are devalued in our current healthcare system.

We are way past an urgent need for “safe havens” for the most vulnerable patients. Of course, such projects require donations of land, money, skills, and time from many people. Please pray about this and send us your ideas concerning ways to take life-affirming medical facilities and care homes from vision to reality. We extend an invitation to you to be a part of this mission that affirms the right to life of every person. May we count on you?

Mrs. Jones was Rescued in the Middle of the Night by Texas Right to Life


Mrs. Jones was Rescued in the Middle of the Night by Texas Right to Life: Lessons to Be Learned from This Incident

By Kassi Marks, JD
Posted: June 16, 2019
Reprinted with permission.
IntroductionHere's an update on Carolyn Jones, a victim of Texas' 10-day Rule in the Texas Advance Directives Act ("TADA"), who was literally rescued from the jaws of death by Texas Right to Life. I covered that saga in my blog many times. It came during our efforts to repeal that part of the law. (The anti-life 10-day Rule gives patients only 10 days to find a new facility before a hospital may legally withdraw their life-sustaining care against their will.)


From L-R: Mark Lee Dickson, Emily Cook, Mr. Jones, Kim Schwartz

Today is a great day!! Mrs. Jones was transported via private ambulance at Texas Right to Life’s expense and will receive care at a long-term care facility.
Emily Cook, an excellent lawyer, someone I count as a friend, and who has been very much on the frontlines of this effort to save Mrs. Jones as the family’s attorney, posted this today on Facebook:
Praise Jesus. Thank you, Lord. God works in amazing ways. The rest of this post is worth the long read. It’s been a night and I’m glad to finally share the news.
Carolyn Jones has left Memorial Hermann SW and is receiving treatment at another Houston hospital! Really, in the middle of the night she was taken by private ambulance to a different hospital’s ER. (I also have a new skill if you ever need a private ambulance.) It was our last hope, a Hail Mary. MH stood by their decision to refuse dialysis to Carolyn; dialysis treatment predating the stroke that landed Carolyn here in the first place. We have a long-term facility in the works, but the paperwork had not been finished. Carolyn had been without dialysis since Saturday; she simply could not go one more day. No amount of money, no number of legislators calling the hospital had changed the hospital’s position.
It was scary. And it was risky. But God showed up. I was worried about how would we know no funny business clinically would happen as we tried to move her. God brought a nurse practitioner as an ally; someone I had never met. I was worried about reception to our arrival at the ER. God brought the most sympathetic personnel to us.
Amazingly, The ER agreed she should have dialysis. However, they were full. They instead found ANOTHER facility willing to accept her and give the dialysis. A legit transfer, not discharge and showing up to an ER. So that’s TWO facilities who disagreed that Carolyn’s life was not worth respecting.
As I sat in her room, watching her move her head from family member to family member as they talked, to responding to commands, the urgency to save her only intensified.
We still have the paperwork and funding to go through to get her to a long-term facility [note: she was moved after this post] pending Medicaid approval. … How timely is our God?!
Mark Lee Dickson and I have assisted each other in cases before, but it was always digital; phone calls, texts, messages. But he came to Houston and jumped into gear. And you all get to see the work Kim Schwartz does.
This is why I defend Texas Right to Life so vehemently. From the intern who ran to bring very tired family members a round of coffee, to our fearless President having zero qualms about calling an elected official at midnight when we thought we might have a problem at the ER. THIS is why Texas Right To Life is such a great organization; it’s the people. We pray first, and then get to work.  
And, and also our families. Poor baby Andrew [Emily Cook’s son] hasn’t seen much of his momma for a full week and he’s really showing “mommy withdrawals.”  
Meanwhile, my ER RN sister is glad we no longer share the same last name  
Look, we are systemically encountering a culture that does not respect the intrinsic dignity of human Life. And as you see, such a deficit can impact areas of your life you never even considered. Folks should pass away when God calls us home; not by the hand of man.  
Please continue to support the Jones family by donating at the link below [referring to the link in her Facebook post], demand lawmakers change the Ten-day Rule and pray for a successful transfer to the long-term care facility.  
Xoxo,
EKC
Note from HALO: Kassi Marks added a lengthy message after Emily Cook’s post and has added several updates since. You can read the entire post by visiting her blog.
Here are just a few of the important points she makes:
  • There was absolutely no justification for subjecting this woman to involuntary passive euthanasia; not that there ever is; … There was no assertion that the care was ineffective or harming her. The truth is, it was working, that’s why they wanted to withdraw it. And, the truth is, this woman was not at death’s door. She survived without her ventilator from Monday at 2 pm until the wee hours of [Tuesday]. She survived without dialysis from Saturday [until she received care at another hospital on Tuesday morning].
  • There was to my knowledge – as usual – no assertion that any doctor’s conscience was pricked by continuing care. Even if it was, I’ve always said the solution is transferring the patient, not killing her.
  • Note also how the care at the other facilities was provided immediately and note the vastly different attitude of the medical professionals there. … there are some in the medical profession who simply have a eugenicist and euthanasia mindset. They want to decide whose lives are worth living and who should be put down like a dog because they have no quality of life in these “professionals’” judgment. What a horrendous, dehumanizing, elitist viewpoint.
  • Note – and I think this is very important – Texas Right to Life offered to private pay for a dialysis treatment and Memorial Hermann refused. Yet two more facilities … concluded immediately that this woman needed emergency dialysis.

By Kassi Marks, JD
Posted: June 27, 2019


Mrs. Jones has passed away. Texas Right to Life announced it, which I quote in full:
HOUSTON – Carolyn Jones passed away Tuesday from natural causes following her high-profile battle with the Texas 10-Day Rule. In May, a hospital committee pulled the plug on Carolyn against her family’s will, but she lived without a ventilator or dialysis for over 60 hours until escaping the hostile hospital in a private ambulance in the dead of night.

Carolyn stopped breathing early Tuesday morning at the long-term nursing facility in which she resided and was rushed to a nearby hospital. Hours later, Carolyn passed away peacefully – on God’s time, not on a countdown forced by a hospital committee or at a time prescribed by state law.
Carolyn’s husband and daughter, Donald and Kina Jones, labored tirelessly to protect her from death imposed by the 10-Day Rule. The Jones family is grateful for countless concerned well-wishers and supporters who sent love as well as donations to Carolyn’s aid. The generosity of people from across the United States afforded the Jones family 43 extra days to cherish with their wife and mother whose life would have otherwise been cut short in May. Texas Right to Life is honored to have played some small role in aiding Donald and Kina as they endured this tragic circumstance.
Texas Right to Life requests prayers and privacy for the Jones family, and we pray that Carolyn is at rest now with our Heavenly Father.
I, like Texas Right to Life, am very grateful that Mrs. Jones was able to pass away in her own time, with appropriate care maintained, and not because her care had been prematurely withdrawn in order to hasten her death. I am grateful that she was given more time with her family and they with her. That is how it should be for every patient and family. No one should have their death hastened against their will by the withdrawal of care.
What this family went through to allow that to happen because of the state of Texas law is diabolical and must be stopped. And, for those who accuse those of us who oppose TADA [Texas Advance Directives Act, of which the 10-Day Rule is a part] of trying to keep "corpses" alive (appalling, disgusting language I've heard repeatedly, even during testimony by a Catholic hospital administrator "ethicist" in opposition to the reform efforts this legislative session), and including by the Usual Suspects.
NOTE that when it was Mrs. Jones' time, it was her time. No one denies that. But it should not be someone's time because a doctor or hospital decided to take away their effective life-sustaining care in order to hasten their death because they didn't think that life was worth living or had value. This is a distinction with a difference. What TADA allows doctors and hospitals to do is eugenics and euthanasia, which are not moral or ethical. Nor should this practice be legal.
Let us pray for the repose of Mrs. Jones' soul and for comfort to her family in their time of loss and grief. As we say in Orthodoxy: Memory Eternal!

HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED WHILE HELPING A FRIEND IN HOSPICE





HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED WHILE HELPING A FRIEND IN HOSPICE:

1. A patient’s advance directives and treatment wishes may be disregarded.
2. Alert patient advocates at the bedside 24/7 are essential.

By Joan
In 2017 I had the privilege of being asked to become my friend John’s healthcare agent. (An “agent”, sometimes called a “proxy,” is someone legally appointed by a person to make his medical decisions in the event he is unable to make his own decisions.) John’s health had been declining for several years. Ultimately, he received a terminal illness diagnosis. (Please note that I am in no way suggesting individuals should wait until that point to assign an agent; this should be done when one reaches the age of 18!)
John had a twofold reason for choosing someone other than a family member. First, we shared the same faith, and he trusted that I would adhere to the tenets of our faith. Second, John was worried about being terminally sedated (i.e., rendered unconscious, deprived of food and fluids, and dying of dehydration and starvation). I was aware that terminal sedation is an increasingly common threat in hospice and would be alert to it.
John’s family was not pleased that he named me to be his healthcare agent. In retrospect, I believe part of their concern was that I would request “heroic” measures to keep him alive at all costs. This, of course, was neither John’s goal nor mine; John simply stated he wanted to die in God’s time and not be “hurried along.”
Scare tactics
When John began to need more help, he received in-home hospice care. The nurse seemed to be caring and respectful of John’s faith, but she made statements (reported to me by John) that caused me to question if that was truly the case. Also, the hospice social worker (Paul) became very angry with me for not persuading John to sign a DNR/DNI (do-not-resuscitate/do-not-intubate order) early on. All of the usual scare tactics were employed (“They’ll pound on you, they’ll break your ribs,” et cetera).
I attended a meeting at which Paul again attempted to persuade John to sign such a document. When John declined, Paul literally shouted at him, “When you’re dead, you’re dead!” I suspect he really wanted to yell at me. Perhaps Paul was under pressure from his employer, but shouting at a patient to scare him into signing a DNR/DNI order is a tactic no professional should stoop to using. (John told me those same words were used on him during an earlier meeting.)
John and I had discussed this document and had agreed he would authorize it when he felt it was time. John was very capable of speaking for himself; therefore, it was not my role as his agent to contradict or pressure him.
The pitfalls of a POLST
Another issue of contention was John’s advance directive. This had been filled out and witnessed well in advance of John entering home hospice care. The hospice staff wanted him to sign a POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment). This form has dangerous wording and loopholes and it overrides a person’s previously signed advance directive. I explained the pitfalls of such a document and John refused to sign it. Again, the staff was unhappy with me.
John eventually reached the point of needing 24-hour care. Lacking the funds for such care at home, he would need to enter a hospice facility. Paul previously found a nonprofit hospice that did not charge for their services and John was agreeable to entering. The catch was that he couldn’t even get on its waiting list without signing the POLST. Attempting to protect John, I amended the POLST, but the hospice would not accept the amended form.
It should be noted that on the day before John was admitted to the hospice facility, he was still using a walker to navigate around his house. Once admitted, a catheter was inserted and, to the best of my knowledge, he did not leave his bed again.
During the initial meeting at the hospice, I told the nurse doing the intake that I did not want a psychotropic drug administered to John since he was not combative nor was there any other indication that it was appropriate. (This was in accordance with advice I had received from several individuals in the healthcare field, one of whom has a doctorate in nursing and over a decade of direct experience in hospice.)
This request was ignored, so I met with the doctor who was doing rounds later that week and voiced the same request. Again, the request was denied. I subsequently met with the medical director who, after disagreeing with me, finally ordered a different drug. I later learned he merely exchanged one psychotropic drug for another.
I attempted to revoke the POLST they forced John to sign and to have him treated according to his advance directive, but he died before that was accomplished. His death occurred a mere two weeks after admission to the hospice facility.
Unlike the family members mentioned in a previous issue of HALO’s newsletter, who were able to be with the patient 24/7 (https://newsletter.halorganization.com/2019/03/a-family-may-be-only-hospice-team-needed.html), John’s family did not agree with my concerns and did not feel the need to be with him around the clock.
All of this has shown me first-hand the importance of the patient advocacy program HALO recommends (https://newsletter.halorganization.com/p/patient-advocacy.html). It takes only a few people who are willing to become patient advocates to help ensure a patient’s safety and comfort.
Note from HALO: Signing a POLST, or any other advance directive or medical order, should always be voluntary. Also, according to the national POLST website (https://polst.org/about), “The POLST form can be changed or voided at any time. It is up to the patient what they want their POLST form to say.” Nevertheless, many hospices, hospitals, and nursing homes disregard federal and state laws and regulations regarding advance directives, DNR orders, and patients’ rights. And, as in John’s case, a healthcare facility may use a POLST to override a patient’s advance directive and even disregard a competent patient’s wishes regarding medical treatment.
The powerful healthcare system is difficult to stand up against, but we must do our best, as Joan did, to protect patients unable to protect themselves. At least they will know someone truly cares about their welfare.
To learn more about the POLST document, read “ADVANCE DIRECTIVES FOR HEALTHCARE, Part Two: The Dangerous POLST Form” at https://newsletter.halorganization.com/2018_11_12_archive.html.
As this case illustrates, healthcare providers may wrongly disregard a patient’s advance directive. Nevertheless, an advance directive in which you appoint an agent (proxy) gives you an ally who will do his or her best to express your wishes regarding medical treatment and to defend your best interests. Also, a life-affirming advance directive is a great tool for educating everyone involved in decisions regarding a patient’s treatment and care.
For information about the medical directives HALO recommends, click on this link: https://halorganization.com/pdf/LAMP.pdf. The Life-Affirming Medical Proxy (LAMP) document is available for download there. The introduction to the document includes a list of “Life-Affirming Principles for Medical Decision-Making” which HALO highly recommends discussing with your agent (proxy), family members, and healthcare providers.

LORETO ON THE PLAINS PERSONAL CARE HOME: A NEW PATHWAY OF CARE





LORETO ON THE PLAINS PERSONAL CARE HOME: A NEW PATHWAY OF CARE

By Ed and Nan Weber


Loreto On The Plains P.C.H. is an alternative approach to the crisis facing the infirm elderly – a crisis resulting from the breakdown in family life and communities which have traditionally been the support for these elderly people. At its root, this is really a spiritual breakdown which has evolved over several generations. Therefore, a Spirit-led solution is required.
This is being written on Pentecost Sunday. Nothing but a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit in hearts can provide the grace needed to launch a movement of life-affirming, merciful caregiving for the sick and terminally ill elderly. After Pentecost, Christians were inspired to risk everything for the Gospel. In our society today, we tend to be too security conscious, too fearful to risk jobs, houses, personal pleasures, a second car, etc. to care for God’s vulnerable little ones. Who is going to care for them if not those with merciful hearts hearing a call from God?
Answering the call


Nan and Ed Weber
Hearing God’s call to found Loreto On The Plains took some time and preparation of our hearts. We were anointed with the Holy Spirit in 1974. The fire of God’s love produced a dramatic change. The Spirit enabled us to follow Jesus as he led our family over the years. Eventually we were led to Hartley, Texas, where we founded the Holy Family Ministry Center.
Through the inspiration of saints such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Padre Pio, we were encouraged to devote all our time and resources to end-of-life issues, especially elder care, euthanasia and assisted suicide. Eventually we were moved to build a home where the marriage of medical care and spiritual care, in an atmosphere of love and prayer, could provide hope in a world where there often is little or none.
It was 10 years from the vision given to us in 1999 to the opening of Loreto On The Plains P.C.H. We have written a book, “The Miracle of Loreto,” which tells the story of the home that faith built – the faith of many who caught the vision because God planted it in their hearts. Whatever encouragement we give to others always comes from knowing that, for those answering the call, the Holy Spirit will provide the wisdom and fortitude.
The New Pathway of Care


We have learned many things as we’ve lived and discovered the meaning of “life-affirming healthcare,” which is as old as the Gospel. Our lived experience and knowledge have culminated in what we are calling the New Pathway of Care, remembering “with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).
We were scared when we received the call to enter this battle for life at the end of life, but we said, “Yes.” We soon found out just what a journey of trust we were on. Every caregiver must be willing to reach deep inside their very being to find the root of faith spelled T-R-U-S-T.
God’s plan for us was to bring true love, physical and spiritual healing, hope and trust, and family to surround our residents who had grown frail and frightened. We found that they often had feelings of isolation and loneliness; of depression and uselessness; of being a burden and thinking, “Why am I still here?” We discovered the reasons for these feelings, the missing links that lie at the core of the mission of the New Pathway of Care. These missing links are relationship and purpose.
Relationship and purpose: keys to fulfilling days


Nan says that in nurses training they are taught not to get personally involved in patients’ lives, that they must keep a loving but professional distance and let other people handle “those things.” This isn’t the way we operate. While we certainly need others to help with many aspects of care and business, we need to be willing to lay down our lives for our friends! (Paraphrasing John 15:13)
Friend, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Mary, Uncle John, or Miss Annie – these are relationship names that reflect the closeness and care that is given to our residents upon entering our world. We are also called to enter their world. The greatest treasures of wisdom and grace come from these “little ones” of Jesus whom we have the privilege to care for and come to know. We are challenged to look “outside the box”; to see the person inside. It is refreshing and enlightening. They are witnesses to endurance and its fruits, and to the ability to adjust our lives to find peace. Where peace does not exist, we can bring it as we express love in many ways: listening to stories (over and over), sharing joys and sorrows, simple gifts of flowers and prayers, tasty meals shared with friends, birthday celebrations, popcorn and movies, etc. Life-affirming healthcare is full of LIFE. Loreto is above all a home, not a hospice.
When we are young and healthy, we contribute to society and the church in many ways, but when we are sick, injured, elderly and/or disabled, we may feel that we no longer contribute. Wrong! This is when we are most powerful. God’s “grace is sufficient” for His “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9-10). This is where “the rubber meets the road.” At this state or stage in life, people are called to be intercessors, praying for others who are suffering and have no one to pray for them and for the salvation of souls who need prayer that day, that hour. What a glorious thought! “My life is not a waste. It is of more use now than ever before. Prayer for others is the finishing touch on my life.”
Family time together is vitally important. In Loreto we quickly learned what an asset our grandchildren are as they visit and play games with our residents and even read to those who are losing their vision. Children have a special gift of innocence and bring joy to the elderly, but they also need to be taught. Storytelling is one way to pass on the wisdom the elderly have to share, and they need to experience being needed in the important role of a child’s mentor.
Also central to this life is the ability to forgive and forget the hurts of the past. That occurs when we talk about the future with our new-found loved ones. The hurts of the past are just so much unnecessary weight; a heavy burden we will not be able to resolve on earth. Why? Because we cannot see with the eyes of Jesus. He invites us to leave the garbage behind “because it’s just too heavy to carry on Angels’ wings” as Colin Raye wrote in the song “On Angels’ Wings.” This piece of music is a real giver of peace and perspective for everyone involved in the journey with our new-found “grandma” or “grandpa” as they learn to trust in Him who is mercy itself. When we get to Heaven, these things will fade away in an instant as we behold the glory of God and begin our new life of glorious love and peace with Him who loves us all.
Homes of Life Across America
In opening our home and developing a loving atmosphere, we have been taken by the Lord through many stages and steps that merciful caregivers face. Love must be the heart of the home. Jesus said, “What you do for the least of these, my brothers, you do for Me” (Matt. 25:40-45). He also said, “Take up your cross and follow me” (Luke 9:23). We wish we could say there is an easier way, but self-sacrifice—giving of our lives—produces peace.
We believe God wants homes like Loreto all over our nation. These will be homes filled with life, where every human life is respected and protected. We call this extension of Loreto’s mission “Homes of Life Across America.” In order to make this vision a reality, many more people must enter the movement of faith that works to convert our self-focus into a focus on love and compassion for others.
The busy-ness of many people’s lives leaves little time for parents or grandparents, especially when they need help or special care. In Loreto they are made to feel like they are at home where they are an integral part of family life and have a sense of purpose.
We invite anyone who feels called to join in making this New Pathway of Care – Homes of Life Across America – a reality. Information about how to contact us is on our website, https://homesoflife.net. We will visit with anyone considering this vocation. We’ll come to speak to you as a family, as individuals, in your church, or to your group no matter the place or size.
Don’t sell yourselves short and certainly don’t sell short the power of Almighty God. Come, join in providing for these frail and elderly ones who have no rank in the world, but are the highest ranked in the Kingdom of God.
Note: Ed and Nan Weber will tell us more about Homes of Life Across America in a future edition of the HALO Monthly.


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