SPRINGFIELD (AP) —Illinois Bicentennial organizers and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs have named 200 military veterans to honor during the state’s 200th birthday. Stuart Layne is executive director of the Bicentennial Commission. He says the “Bicentennial HONOR 200” recognition “is one of the most important commemorations” of the yearlong celebration. All the recipients have been invited to attend the state’s official birthday celebration Dec. 3 at the United Center in Chicago. Veterans from our area that will be attending this event include John Albert Metzger from Benton, Ethan Blumhorst of Carbondale, Thomas Harness of Carterville and Ernest Rinella of Marion.