Mistaken Identity

This is surreal.

CALEDONIA, Michigan (AP) — The casket was closed for Whitney Cerak’s funeral more than a month ago. Her mother, Colleen, declined to look at the body, battered as it was in a collision between a van and a tractor-trailer.

“They wanted to remember her the way she was,” said Cerak’s grandfather, Emil Frank.

Meanwhile, the family of Laura VanRyn, another victim of the crash, kept vigil by a hospital bed. The severely injured young woman was in a coma for a time, but the family’s blog detailed the many small steps she made toward recovery: feeding herself applesauce, playing Connect Four with a therapist.

But as her condition improved, Laura Van Ryn’s family realized they had the wrong woman, and Colleen Cerak realized she had not buried her daughter.

The family of VanRyn, 22, disclosed the mix-up Wednesday on their blog. “Our hearts are aching as we have learned that the young woman we have been taking care of over the past five weeks has not been our dear Laura,” but instead a fellow university student of hers, Whitney Cerak, they wrote.

The shock was equal but joyous for the family of Cerak, whose funeral drew 1,400 in her hometown of Gaylord, Michigan. “I still can’t get over it. It’s like a fairy tale,” Frank said.

Here is the VanRyn’s family blog where they have been posting updates on “Laura’s” condition.

What may come to us as a shock, does not shock the One who made us. We have some hard news to share with you today. Our hearts are aching as we have learned that the young woman we have been taking care of over the past five weeks has not been our dear Laura, but instead a fellow Taylor student of hers, Whitney Cerak. There was a misidentification made at the time of the accident and it is uncanny the resemblence that these two women share. Their body types are similar, their hair color and texture, their facial features, etc. Over the past couple of days, as Whitney had been becoming more aware of her surroundings, she’d been saying and doing some things that made us question whether or not she was Laura. Yesterday, we talked with a Spectrum staff member and began the process of making a positive ID. We now know without a doubt, that this is Whitney.

(via Kottke)

Republic of Minerva


The Republic of Minerva was one of the few modern attempts at creating a sovereign micronation on the reclaimed land of an artificial island. The architect was Las Vegas real estate millionaire and political activist Michael Oliver, who went on to be involved in other similar attempts in the following decade. Oliver formed a syndicate, the Ocean Life Research Foundation, which allegedly had some hundred million dollars for the project and had offices in New York and London. They anticipated a libertarian utopia of light industries, commercial activities and fishing as part of the economy of the new nation.

How did it turn out?

On June 15, 1972 King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV of Tonga issued a declaration stating that the Kingdom of Tonga sought to extend jurisdiction into the territory of Minerva, and sent an expedition to claim the land. The Minervan flag was hauled down, and the atoll was later annexed by Tonga. Tonga‚Äôs claim was recognized by the South Pacific Forum in September 1972. Meanwhile, Provisional President Davis was fired by founder Michael Oliver and the project collapsed in confusion.

6-Year-Old Fla. Girl Charged With Felony For Kicking Teacher’s Aide

From Local6.com:

NAPLES, Fla. — A 6-year-old special education student who kicked a Naples teacher’s aide and spent several hous in juvenile jail is facing felony battery charges.

Her mother, however, wants to know why the case has gone so far.

Takovia Allen suffers from behavioral problems and attends a special class at Lely Elementary in Naples.

According to an arrest report, on May 2, a teacher was trying to line up students to go to music class. Takovia refused to go and kicked the teacher’s aide in the ankle.

After a discussion among school officials and two law enforcement officials called to the school, the girl was arrested.

(Thanks PVC)