University of Kansas researcher charged

with theft

LAWRENCE, Kan. | Authorities allege a University of Kansas researcher received illegal discounts and avoided paying sales taxes for nearly two years.

The Kansas attorney general’s office said in a news release Monday that 37-year-old Liuqi Gu, of Lawrence, has been charged with four felonies and two misdemeanors.

Gu is a postdoctoral researcher with the university’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Prosecutors allege that between November 2016 and October 2018, Gu claimed purchases he made from Thermo-Fisher Scientific were for the university so he could receive discounts. They also allege Gu used confidential information he received from the university to avoid paying thousands of dollars in sales taxes.

Gu was charged Thursday with two counts of theft, unlawful acts concerning computers, and making false information, and two misdemeanors. He is being held on $100,000 bond.

Flu blamed

for 3 deaths

in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. | The cold and flu season is just beginning, but the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said Monday that three deaths are blamed on the flu.

The health department did not release any information about the victims but said the total number of influenza cases in the state has topped 1,500.

The health department said the best way to prevent getting the flu is to get an annual vaccination. Director Randall Williams said the peak of the flu season is still approaching so it’s not to late to get the shot.

Nebraska man charged after wrong-way Iowa interstate crash

SIOUX CITY, Iowa | Authorities have arrested a Nebraska man who allegedly drove the wrong-way on Interstate 29 in Iowa and crashed into a sports utility vehicle.

Nickolas Kevin Diediker, 32, of Concord, is accused of driving southbound in the northbound lanes of I-29 around 6:30 a.m. Saturday, according to the Sioux City Journal.

Authorities said Diediker collided with an SUV nearly head-on and continued driving in the wrong direction. The SUV driver was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

A Sioux City police officer on his way home from a night shift reportedly spotted the pickup running into a concrete barrier before turning back northbound on the interstate with its headlights off. The officer relayed what he saw to on-duty officers, and police eventually stopped the vehicle.

Diediker is charged with operating while under the influence, felony eluding, leaving the scene of an injury accident and other charges.

Mental health services a concern in rural Nebraska schools

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. | The president of Nebraska’s public-school teachers’ union said she’s hearing concerns from rural schools about a lack of mental health services and state equalization aid.

The Star-Herald in Scottsbluff reported that many schools also are concerned about retaining qualified teachers, particularly in rural areas.

Nebraska State Education Association President Jenni Benson said she hopes to tackle those issues and others in the upcoming legislative session.

Benson saidher association recently received a grant from the National Education Association to help. The association plans to visit Nebraska communities in the spring to determine schools’ needs and how best to address them.

— From AP reports