Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has presented honors to members of the state's National Guard who perform military services during funerals for fallen veterans.
Bentley signed an executive order creating the Alabama Honor Guard Ribbon Monday afternoon and presented honor guard members with the awards at the state Capitol.
The honor guard members are responsible for performing military ceremonies during funerals for eligible veterans. The ceremonies usually include the folding and presentation of an American flag to the veterans' next of kin, and the playing of Taps.
Gov. Robert Bentley says two National Guard wreckers have been dispatched to Interstate 65 near Cullman to help clear jackknifed 18-wheelers that blocked northbound traffic.
The governor says one lesson learned from the Jan. 28 ice storm was to get National Guard wreckers organized early to pull stalled vehicles to the side of the road until the weather clears and the owners can reclaim them.
Alabama Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Harris says the state has brought in contractor crews to assist with snow removal across north Alabama counties.
Most, but not all, full-time staff of the Alabama National Guard is covered by a new Pentagon policy providing benefits for same-sex couples.
Capt. Andrew Richardson of the Alabama National Guard says there are about 2,500 full-time Guardsmen in Alabama who are considered federal employees and are eligible for federal benefits. They are covered by the Pentagon's new policy.
He says the Guard has fewer than 300 full-time employees who are considered state employees, and they continue to receive state benefits. Those benefits don't cover same-sex marriages.
A large National Guard training center is planned for north Alabama.
Gov. Robert Bentley and state Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur announced that the training center will be developed on the old site of the Lurleen B. Wallace Developmental Center in Decatur. The facility was operated by the state Department of Mental Health until it closed a decade ago. The Department of Mental Health turned over the deed to the National Guard on Thursday.