KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City region’s 816 area code is about to get a new number.

The Missouri Public Service Commission announced Monday that it will soon begin to implement the new area code of 975 in the Kansas City region.

The 816 area code serves communities like Kansas City, St. Joseph, Blue Springs, Odessa, Harrisonville, Parkville and more.

All existing 816 area code customers will still keep their current area code, and their phone numbers will not change.

But as soon as August 2023, companies can start requesting telephone numbers with the 975 area code. By October 2023, those new numbers can be activated.

The Missouri Public Service Commission said this change is called an overlay plan and is happening because the 816 area code will soon exhaust available phone numbers.

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator projects that the Kansas City area will run out of 816 phone numbers by the second quarter of 2024.

The new 975 area code will co-exist everywhere in the region that the 816 area code exists, and the cost of a phone call or other rates will not change.

All local calls must be dialed using 10 digits rather than seven. This shouldn’t be too much of a change for the 816 area code. In July 2022, the 816 area was one of many across the United States that was required to start 10-digit dialing to accommodate the new 988 mental health hotline.

This isn’t the first time the Missouri Public Service Commission and North American Numbering Plan Administrator have introduced a new area code in Missouri.

Just last year, the commission announced a new 557 area code for the St. Louis region. Mid-Missouri also got a new 235 area code last year in the current 573 region.


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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mass shootings have commanded public attention on a disturbingly frequent basis across the U.S. But rather than provoking a unified response from elected officials, each additional shooting seems to be widening the political divide on gun policy among states.

“It’s wash, rinse and repeat with these mass shootings,” said Michael Anderson, a bartender who survived a mass shooting at a Colorado nightclub. “They happen, and then they happen, and then they happen — and then nothing gets done.”

At least nothing that has put a halt to the violence.

In Democratic-led states with already restrictive gun laws, officials have responded to home-state tragedies with even more limits on guns — doubling down on a belief that future shootings can be thwarted by controlling access to lethal weapons.

In many states with Republican-led legislatures, high-profile shootings appear unlikely to prompt any new firearm restrictions this year — reflecting a belief that violent people, not their weapons, are the problem.

“Obviously, no one wants to see these tragedies occur — this loss of life — but how the problem is viewed, and therefore what the response is to that problem, is night and day difference,” said Daniel Webster, an American health professor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.

For the third straight year, the U.S. in 2022 recorded over 600 mass shootings in which at least four people were killed or injured, according to the Gun Violence Archive. This year got off to another deadly start, including three California mass shootings in barely a week that killed two dozen people. A Saturday morning shooting in an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood that killed at least three and wounded four added to the grim toll. That despite the fact California has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws.

As more communities grieve, legislative sessions are getting underway in many states. Numerous gun-related bills have been filed, but common ground appears lacking.

In Texas, Democratic state Sen. Roland Gutierrez convened a Capitol news conference this past week with relatives of some of the 19 children and two teachers killed last May at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. They pleaded with lawmakers to raise the age from 18 to 21 to buy semi-automatic rifles and lift restraints against lawsuits alleging negligence by law enforcement officers and public agencies.

“An 18-year-old should not be allowed to purchase an ugly weapon,” said Felicia Martinez, whose 10-year-old son Xavier Lopez was killed in the attack. She added: “These laws need to be changed, and they need to be changed today — not tomorrow.”

Yet that seems unlikely. Texas House Speaker Dade Phela told reporters earlier this month he didn’t foresee enough support in the Republican-led House to pass bills limiting access to guns. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has said raising the purchasing age for semi-automatic rifles would be “unconstitutional,” though several states already have similar restrictions.

Instead, Texas officials responded last summer with $105.5 million for school safety and mental health initiatives.

Missouri seems similarly unlikely to enact stricter gun laws after a 19-year-old killed a teacher, a student and wounded seven others last October at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis. Police said they had previously responded to a call from the 19-year-old’s mother to remove a gun from his possession, but they could not do so because Missouri lacks a red-flag law.

If such a law had been in place, “this would not have happened — at least that person, that situation, that gun, that death, all of that could have been prevented,” said Janay Douglas, whose 15-year-old daughter fled from the shooter.

Democrats have sponsored legislation allowing authorities to remove guns from people at risk of causing harm. But its prospects are not good.

“I don’t think a red flag law — the way I know it to be and the way it’s been defined — has any chance of getting through the Missouri Senate, that’s for certain,” said Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden, a Republican.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, has instead proposed $50 million for school safety grants in response to the shooting.

In Oklahoma, which experienced several mass shootings, Republican lawmakers are expected to push for looser gun laws. GOP state Rep. Jim Olsen has filed a bill to lower the age for carrying a firearm from 21 to 18.

“It’s a constitutional right,” Olsen said. “The immaturity that exists at 18 sometimes also still exists at 22. So, what do we want to do? Raise the age to 25 or 30? I would think not.”

By contrast, lawmakers in Democratic-led New York and Illinois moved fairly quickly to enact additional gun restrictions after mass shootings.

An 18-year-old shooter outfitted with body armor and a semi-automatic rifle killed 10 people and injured three others last May at a Buffalo grocery story in a predominantly black neighborhood. Within a month, the legislature and governor enacted laws barring people under age 21 from buying semi-automatic rifles, limiting the sale of bullet-resistant armor and tightening red-flag laws.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, signed legislation earlier this month spurred largely by an Independence Day parade shooting that killed seven and injured dozens in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. The law bans the sale or possession of dozens of specific types of semi-automatic guns and high-capacity ammunition magazines. A judge has temporarily blocked it after gun-rights advocates sued.

In Colorado, lawmakers are proposing a variety of new gun restrictions, two months after five people were killed at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. Democratic leaders have been most supportive of proposals to strengthen red flag laws and raise the minimum age to purchase firearms from 18 to 21.

Anderson, who was bartending at Club Q during the shooting, wants politicians to embrace greater gun control and better mental health services.

“After what I’ve been through and my friends and our community here, you know, doing nothing is not an option,” Anderson said.


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NEW YORK — Bed Bath & Beyond said last that it’s in default on its loans and doesn’t have sufficient funds to repay what it owes. The company told Nexstar Monday that it will be closing 87 additional stores.

One of the stores closing is in the St. Louis area. The Bed Bath & Beyond in Sunset Hills Plaza near Lindbergh and I-44 is on the new closings list.

The company also plans to close five buybuy BABY stores as well as all of its Harmon beauty locations.

The home goods chain said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the default would force it to consider alternatives including restructuring its debt in bankruptcy court.

Shares in the company based in Union, New Jersey, fell 22% Thursday in reaction to the news.

Bed Bath & Beyond warned on Jan. 5 that it was considering options including filing for bankruptcy, saying that there was “substantial doubt” that it could stay in business. A week later, it reported a 33% drop in sales and a widening loss for its fiscal third quarter that ended Nov. 26, compared with the year-ago period. Sales at stores opened at least a year — a key indicator of a company’s health — dropped 32%.

Its recently appointed president and CEO, Sue Gove, blamed the poor holiday performance on inventory constraints and reduced credit limits that resulted in shortages of merchandise on store shelves.

Typically, struggling retailers file for bankruptcy protection after the holiday shopping season because they have a cash cushion coming from the two-month sales period.

Still, turning around Bed Bath & Beyond is expected to be difficult amid increasing competition from discounters. Its struggles come as the economy is weakening, and shoppers are tightening their purse strings.

It has been trying to turn around its business and slash costs after previous management’s new strategies worsened a sales slump. The company announced in August it would close about 150 of its namesakes stores and slash its workforce by 20%. It also lined up more than $500 million in new financing.


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