Highland Park blight buster to appear on “Ellen”

Mama Shu, director of the Avalon Village in Highland Park, will be featured Wednesday on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Shu is building a sustainable eco-village, turning one of Highland Park’s most blighted areas into a safe and functional space. He appearance will air at 4 p.m. Wednesday on WDIV-TV (Channel 4), and Highland Park television station WHPR-TV will air it again that evening. Avalon Village will host a watch party from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at 160 Victor in Highland Park. Suggested donation for the party is $10. Visit

Actor Ben Vereen accused of bigamy

Stage legend Ben Vereen was allegedly married to two women for 36 years. According to Page Six, Vereen wasn’t aware he was still married to his first wife, Andrea Townsley, while he was married to Nancy Burner from 1976-2012. Vereen and Townsley were married in the 1960s when he was 19 and she was 14 and pregnant. Reports say Vereen filed for divorce in 1972, but nothing was made official. Townsley didn’t learn they weren’t officially divorced until recently when she went to file for Social Security. Vereen has a Tony Award for his 1973 role in “Pippin” and is the godfather of R&B superstar Usher.

Olympian Claressa Shields makes Macy’s appearance

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields of Flint will make an in-store appearance at the new Macy’s in her hometown. The first 200 customers at the store’s opening at noon Sept. 24 will get a photo opportunity with the boxer. Shields recently won gold at the Rio Summer Olympics, making her the only American boxer to win an olympic title twice in a row. The Flint Macy’s is at 4600 Miller Road.

Lin-Manuel Miranda hosts PBS Arts Fall Festival

Grammy and Tony Award-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda will host the PBS Arts Fall Festival, which kicks off 9 p.m. Oct. 21 with “Hamilton’s America” from Great Performances. Beloved comedic actor Bill Murray is saluted Oct. 28 with the Mark Twain Prize. The star-studded ceremony airs at 9 p.m. from the John F. Kennedy Center. The Arts Fall Festival continues through December with programming featuring the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Nov. 4), “Gypsy” (Nov. 11), Alan Cumming (Nov. 18), Lang Lang (Nov. 25), Joshua Bell (Dec. 16) and the Royal Shakespeare Company (Dec. 23).

Compiled by Melody Baetens

Saturday’s birthdays

Bill O’Reilly, 67

Joe Perry, 66

Colin Firth, 56

Big Daddy Kane, 48

Misty Copeland, 34

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