Mayor T.W. Permenter spent a few minutes this week becoming the first Pinehurst citizen to sign up for the Blackboard Connect mass notification system recently implemented by the Pinehurst City Council. The service is of no cost to the citizens as it was funded by a port security grant through the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission. City officials will use the service to send out alerts of an emergency or non-emergency nature pertaining to severe weather, water boil notices, evacuations, hazardous material spills, fire advisories, water main breaks, road closures and any number of other situations, officials report. The service can even be used to notify people of outstanding warrants if necessary, Pinehurst Police Chief Fred Hanauer said.
The messages can be sent to home phones, cell phones, e-mail addresses or social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. Hanauer has already sent out a voice recorded welcome message to all Pinehurst citizens with published phone numbers outlining the uses of the service.
“The system will also augment our primary emergency services and existing communication channels to keep our citizens better informed,” Hanauer said.
Citizens wishing to receive future messages at a different phone or wanting to add alternate phone numbers can visit the City of Pinehurst website at www.cityofpinehurst.com  and click on the link that says “SIGN UP NOW – SERVICES BY Blackboard Connect. Sign-up for the Blackboard Connect service is also available by completing a form and returning it to the City of Pinehurst city hall; the sign-up form is available at city hall or by e-mail upon request. For questions pertaining to Blackboard connect and its uses, contact the Pinehurst Police Department at (409) 886-2221.