Listen to this article

Thanks to the Tons O’ Fun Band and its Dec. 7 Christmas show, another 50 bulbs were lit on the Developmental Service Center’s Tree of Hope on Thursday afternoon.

The 50 bulbs represent the $2,500 ($50 each) raised by the band during its show at the Virginia Theatre, which drew a crowd of 800.

Members of the band, DSC representatives and Tree of Hope ‘spokes-family’ the Hayns were on hand for the special lighting ceremony. The tree is at the corner of Prospect Avenue and Marketview Drive in Champaign.

“I’m pleased with where we’re at right now. I just need it to keep going,” DSC Director of Development Janice McAteer said.

The campaign has raised $146,000 so far toward the goal of $185,000 for the year. The campaign ends Jan. 31.

“Right now, we are on about pace where we were last year ($175,000). We’re certainly hopeful that we hit the goal of $185,000,” McAteer said. “At this time, it’s always a little nerve-racking, because giving really drops off, obviously, after the end of the year.”

The Jan. 31 end of the campaign serves as a reminder that “the need transcends the holiday,” McAteer said.

To donate, go to

On to my weekend recommendations:


“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” 10:30 p.m., NBC

After two weeks of repeats, Fallon is back with fresh episodes. Scheduled guests include comedian Martin Lawrence.


Vikings at 49ers, 3:30 p.m., NBC

It’s the second round of the playoffs. There are no former Illini on either team, but the 49ers are led by ex-Eastern Illinois star Jimmy Garoppolo.


“Critics Choice Awards,” 6 p.m., CW

Actor Taye Diggs returns as host. A week after the Golden Globes, the 25th annual show honors the best in movies and television. Eddie Murphy will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and is also a nominee.

College Football Reporter/Columnist

Bob Asmussen is a college football reporter and columnist for The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@BobAsmussen).