HarvardX course enrollments break the 500k mark

first_img Read Full Story Based upon data gathered August 5-11, 2013, total enrollments for HarvardX courses (including past, current, and future offerings) exceeded 500,000.509,294 to be exact.CS50x, “Introduction to Computer Programming,” remains the top enrolled course at nearly 160,000. ER22x, “Justice,” follows at nearly 70,000. The first two offerings from the Harvard School of Public Health—PH207x, “Health in Numbers,” and PH78x, “Human Health and Global Environmental Change,”—and the future SPU27x, “Science and Cooking,” round out the top five.In addition to “Science and Cooking,” popular forthcoming courses include MCB80x, “Fundamentals of Neuroscience,” and SW12x, “China.”Harvard, in fact, has developed and run the most number of courses on the edX platform (17) and is responsible for almost one-third of total enrollments to date (1,819,229).While the numbers live up to the “massive” in MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), the individual learning experiences are decidedly more personal:“I stood in my bean patch in West Virginia today and was humbled to think I was able to take part in this learning experience with participants from all over the world. Please allow me to express my kharin ekhein. (Hope I said that correctly!)” – Comment on CB22x, “Ancient Greek Hero” “The community and sense of connection between not only the 120,000 students worldwide taking the course online, but the hundreds sitting in Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, really defined the experience for me.” – Comment on CS50xlast_img read more

A to Z: Ag at the Zoo

first_imgMarch is National Agriculture Month. To celebrate, the Universityof Georgia and the Southeast United Dairy Industry Associationwill try to make learning about agriculture fun at Zoo Atlanta. “The zoo is a natural place for us to hold this event on theenvironment and agriculture’s place in it,” Peppers said. “ZooAtlanta offers a bit of nature and conservation in the middle ofthe city.””A to Z: Agriculture at the Zoo” will feature interactiveexhibits, fun activities and family entertainment. CAESscientists, farm commodity groups and agribusinesses willshowcase the latest in agricultural research and improvements. “We hope the exhibit with Zoo Atlanta will help urban Georgianssee that agriculture touches the lives of all of us every day,”Peppers said. Visitors can plant seeds and learn about composting at the UrbanGarden Program exhibit. And they can find out how to build abackyard wildlife habitat. The MDC is a 30-foot, white trailer painted with black cow spots.It travels across Georgia to educate kids about the process thatsafely takes milk from the cow to the dinner table. The annual “A to Z: Agriculture at the Zoo” event will beSaturday, March 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will showcaseagriculture for urban Georgians. By April ReeseUniversity of Georgia “When most people think of agriculture, they think of rural lifeand farming,” said Faith Peppers, public affairs manager with theUGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Equipped to house a live cow, the MDC allows kids and families tosee the milking process in action. Teachers can get informationabout possible school visits.center_img For adults, the event will showcase a plant doctor exhibit byGeorgia Master Gardeners and the latest developments in thediverse fields of agriculture. The “Got Milk?” truck, provided by The Southeast United DairyAssociation, will give visitors free milk samples and their ownmilk-mustache photo. Exhibit areas just for kids will feature hands-on scienceexhibits and environmental protection displays. A scavenger huntwill let kids test their agriculture knowledge and win prizes.4-H club members from around the state will have displays ontheir project work in agriculture and the environment. The highlight of this year’s Dairy Association exhibit is theMobile Dairy Classroom, a new outreach program created by Georgiadairy farmers. “We’ll have exhibits under the Ford Pavilion and throughout thezoo,” Peppers said. “So whether they want to learn how to protecttheir groundwater or talk with students about what they’restudying, there should be something for everyone.” “A to Z: Agriculture at the Zoo” is free with admission to thezoo. For discounted Zoo Atlanta tickets for March 29, contactyour county UGA Extension Service office. You can get tickets,too, through Zoo Atlanta’s Web site (www.zooatlanta.org) or atthe gate. (April Reese is a student writer with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Merchants Bank celebrates new Shelburne Road office

first_imgCommunity Bank NA,Executive Vice President Thomas S. Leavitt announced that the Merchants Bank officially celebrated the opening of their new branch, located at 929 Shelburne Road in South Burlington on Friday, February 27. The branch has been open since Tuesday, January 20 of this year. Remarks by bank officials were delivered during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and visitors enjoyed refreshments and toured the new branch. The Bank also made a $500 donation to the Humane Society of Chittenden County.The new branch replaces the former branch, which had been operating next to the new site since 1974. The state-of-the-art facility offers full lobby service and three drive-up lanes, including one dedicated to an ATM. The new interior space features teller stations, private office space, a conference room for onsite, private loan closings and customer meetings, and ADA-compliant accommodations. A green space will occupy the site of the previous bank building, with work scheduled for completion in the spring. The facility is adjacent to the K-Mart Plaza.Leavitt says this is the fourth new construction project that Connor Contracting (Berlin and St. Albans, VT) has built for the bank. We have been very pleased with the quality of the work. The reception by the communities of White River Junction, St. Albans and Waterbury to our new facilities and programs has encouraged us to keep building, commented Leavitt. The new office will be a great environment for customers and staff, adds Maryann Russell, Shelburne Road Branch President. Our team is very excited to reward our relationships and to make new acquaintances. We are proud to be part of Vermont s independent statewide bank. Left to right: Joseph Boutin, Michael Heyman, Maryann Russell, Tom Leavitt, Heather Cruickshank, Diane Sullivan, Gary Dean, David Sklar, Gianni Badeau (Connor Contracting), Jimena Huaco, Tyler Kasupski, BJ Rogers (Humane Society of Chittenden County), Jason Young (Connor Contracting), and Steve Connor (Connor Contracting)Merchants Bank s new Shelburne Road branchVermont Matters.® Merchants Bank strives to provide funding to support organizations with programs and services throughout Vermont that help meet basic needs; advance environmental initiatives, energy efficiency and awareness; and promote community enrichment through local sports related initiatives.The continuing mission of Merchants Bank is to provide Vermonters with a state-wide community bank that blends a strong technology platform with a genuine appreciation for local markets. Merchants Bank fulfills this commitment through a branch-based system that includes 34 community bank offices and 42 ATMs throughout Vermont, Personal Bankers dedicated to top-quality customer service and streamlined solutions, including: Personal Banking with CashRewards Checkingsm, Free Checking for Life®, a low-cost Money Market Account, Free Online Banking and Bill Pay, Overdraft Coverage, Direct Deposit, Free Debit Card, and Free Automated Phone Banking; Business Banking with Rewards Checking for Business, Business Online Banking and Bill Pay, Business Lines of Credit and Merchant Card Processing; Small Business Loans; Health Savings Accounts; Credit Cards; Flexible Certificates of Deposit; Vehicle Loans; Home Equity Credit; and Home Mortgages. Visit mbvt.com for more information. Merchants stock is traded on the NASDAQ National Market system under the symbol MBVT. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.For more information about the Humane Society of Chittenden County, please visit: http://www.chittendenhumane.org(link is external)Source: Merchants Banklast_img read more

Former Vermont technology chief Tom Evslin to speak on March 30

first_imgTom Evslin, inventor, entrepreneur, and former Vermont Chief Technology Officer, will be the featured speaker at the Ethan Allen Institute’s second Sheraton Economic Series program of 2011. Evslin’s topic will be ‘The Economics of Abundance: Why Doesn’t It Apply to Everything?’ The program will be held in the University Amphitheatre of the Sheraton Burlington Conference Center at 7:00pm on Wednesday, March 30, 2011.In his talk, Evslin will ask why computer component prices decline by half every eighteen months, while prices continue to rise in many other areas not yet reached by the technology revolution. As the computer and internet dynamic spreads out to more and more sectors of the economy, Evslin prophesies that cheap and abundant computing and communications resources will work profound changes through universal broadband, electrical smart grid, e-health and e-education.Tom Evslin founded and sold two major computer software companies – Solutions and ITCX ‘ and held top technology posts with Microsoft and AT&T. In 2009 he became the volunteer state Chief Recovery Officer, managing the flood of Federal stimulus monies coming into the state, and then continuing as Chief Technology Officer in 2010.Evslin serves on the boards of the Vermont Telecommunications Authority and the Vermont Clean Energy Fund, and is the author of a computer era murder mystery novel entitled Hackoff. (Complimentary copies of the book will be available after the program.) Evslin lives in Stowe with his wife Mary.‘No one in Vermont is more qualified that Tom Evslin to assess what startling advances in high technology will make possible for human wellbeing ‘ assuming government doesn’t get in the way,’ said EAI Vice President John McClaughry. ‘We are delighted to give him a forum for what will be a very interesting and stimulating talk’The Sheraton Economic Series is sponsored by the Ethan Allen Institute, hosted by the Sheraton Burlington Conference Center, and cosponsored by the Vermont Economy Newsletter, Vermont Business Magazine, Vermont Tiger, True North Radio, and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce.Reservations not necessary, there is no admission charge, and the public is invited. Ethan Allen Institute 4836 Kirby Mountain Road, Concord VT 05824eai@ethanallen.org(link sends e-mail) 802 695 1448last_img read more

U.S. Shift Toward Renewables Is Most Evident in GOP States

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Michael Biesecker for the Associated Press:Wind turbines and solar panels accounted for more than two-thirds of all new electric generation capacity added to the nation’s grid in 2015, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy. The remaining third was largely new power plants fueled by natural gas, which has become cheap and plentiful as a result of hydraulic fracturing.It was the second straight year U.S. investment in renewable energy projects has outpaced that of fossil fuels. Robust growth is once again predicted for this year.And while Republican lawmakers in Washington have fought to protect coal-fired power plants, opposing President Barack Obama’s efforts to curtail climate-warming carbon emissions, data show their home states are often the ones benefiting most from the nation’s accelerating shift to renewable energy.Leading the way in new wind projects are GOP strongholds Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, home to some of the leading critics of climate science and renewable energy incentives in Congress. Republican-dominated North Carolina trails only California in new solar farms, thanks largely to pro-renewables polices enacted years ago under a Democratic legislature.The most dramatic change has been seen in the plummeting cost of emissions-free wind energy, which has declined by two-thirds in the last six years thanks to the availability of cheaper, more efficient turbines. An annual analysis by the investment firm Lazard determined that wind energy is now the lowest-cost energy source, even before federal green-energy tax incentives are factored in.Billions of dollars in private equity are going to construct massive new renewables projects, especially in the Sun Belt and Great Plains. Thousands of miles of new high-voltage transmission lines are also under construction to send power from the wind and sun from the sparsely populated areas where it is collected to the urban centers where it’s needed.Even with the surge in new projects, energy from such renewable sources as wind, solar and water accounted for only about a tenth of total U.S. power generation last year.Still, the U.S. leads the world in wind energy with about 48,800 utility-scale turbines operating across the country, generating enough electricity to power about 20 million homes. By 2030, the Energy Department estimates wind will provide a fifth of the nation’s electricity.“Wind energy is very low-cost and not subject to the fuel price risk that both natural gas and coal face,” said Michael Goggin, senior director of research at the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group. “Adding wind is cheaper than new gas or new coal. It is by far the lowest-cost resource.”Coal has dropped over the last decade from providing half of all U.S. electricity to about one-third.While new clean-air regulations and tax incentives for renewables are having a negative impact on coal, the plummeting cost of cleaner-burning natural gas made possible by fracking is largely driving the closure of many old coal-fired power plants. Exports of coal to foreign customers such as China also are down.“We didn’t see the decline coming this fast and this deep,” said Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association, an industry trade group.Meanwhile, the long-promised potential of Clean Coal technology has yet to be realized. A model power plant in Mississippi designed to capture the carbon dioxide generated from burning coal has encountered repeated delays and multibillion-dollar cost overruns.Closures mean America’s coal mines now employ about only about 56,700 people, down from a peak of more than 10 times that. By contrast, the fast-growing solar industry now employs more than 210,000 workers. Wind energy accounts for another 77,000 by federal estimates.Political giving by the big coal companies and their executives has declined, but the industry still spends heavily to protect its interests in Washington. Pro-coal interests spent at least $11 million to influence the 2014 Congressional midterm elections, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. More than 95 percent of that went to support Republican candidates.Among them is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who rarely misses an opportunity to blame Obama’s “War on Coal” for killing mining jobs. Nearly all of the 27 states that have sued to stop the administration’s carbon emissions-cutting Clean Power Plan have GOP governors.For Republicans from areas benefiting from renewable energy, the political calculus can be complicated. An increasing number of them try to balance criticizing Obama’s environmental efforts with quietly supporting the federal tax incentives helping drive investment in renewables.GOP leaders compromised with Democrats and a growing number of pro-renewables Republicans to include a five-year extension of tax breaks for wind and solar projects as part of a federal budget agreement approved in December.Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, among the earliest boosters of government support for wind power, points out that fossil fuels and nuclear plants have long benefited from tax credits. Last month, MidAmerican Energy announced plans to invest another $3.6 billion to add new turbines in Iowa, which already gets about a third of its electricity from the wind.“We’ve seen the economic success story behind renewables up close and personal,” Grassley said as the new project was announced. “There are more than 6,000 good wind jobs in Iowa.”Full article: GOP states benefiting from shift to wind and solar energy U.S. Shift Toward Renewables Is Most Evident in GOP Stateslast_img read more

Productively prioritize people

first_imgAll credit union leaders know their success is dependent on the people around them.To have more impact and influence in our credit unions we need to prioritize people. There will always be processes, to-do lists, targets and objectives to achieve… and it is with people we achieve results.Here are three strategies to assist you prioritize people in your credit union, in your home and in your community.Pay Attention – to accelerate your engagement consider eliminating distractions. Distractions can include our cell phones, meetings, social media and other people. One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is the gift of your undivided attention. Today can you choose to pay attention more and as my five-year-old friend Donovan says, ‘listen with your eyes.’ Spend time today noticing everyone who assists you in a day. It might be the barista for your morning coffee, the security guard, and the people at the bus stop. Who are the people around you who would benefit from your attention today? When is the last time you scheduled a one on one with your team to check in on their progress?Pay it forward – many of us are fortunate to live great lives in a country that allows us great freedoms. Today could you decide to pay it forward by recommending a member service to someone else, recommending someone by providing an unsolicited recommendation on LinkedIn, or endorse the work of a team member to someone else? When was the last time you proactively paid it forward for someone you know?Pay for expertise – to accelerate personal and professional development you could invest by working with a coach, buying a book on a topic you and your members will benefit on you knowing about, listening to a podcast to keep your skills current. If you can’t pay money for expertise could you barter time and expertise. We can learn from each other in this industry. When was the last time you reached out to someone to learn a skill or talent they have that your team and members would benefit from you knowing? When was the last time you shared your expertise with your team?You don’t have time to do everything, only time to do what matters. Today choose to prioritize people; you will be so glad you did. 38SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Neen James Think force of nature. Boundless energy. Timely topics. Laugh out loud fun. Eye opening ideas. Take-aways that ACTUALLY create positive change.  Sound like what YOU’RE looking for? Then Motivational … Web: www.neenjames.com Detailslast_img read more

CUNA pushes for removal of problematic part of MLA guidance

first_img continue reading » CUNA and the Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) asked the Department of Defense (DOD) to remove a problematic question from its guidance on the Military Lending Act (MLA). While CUNA has additional concerns with the guidance, it seeks immediate withdrawal of Question and Answer 2 (QA2) due its seeming inconsistency with the text of the MLA regulation.The DOD finalized changes to the MLA regulation in 2015, and issued an interpretive rule in 2016 and amendments to that rule in 2017.“Aspects of the 2017 changes are problematic, including QA2, which addresses certain credit extended for the purchase of a motor vehicle or personal property,” reads the letter, signed by CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle and DCUC President/CEO Anthony Hernandez. “Specifically, the revised answer to Question 2 indicates that a credit transaction that also finances a credit-related product or service—such as GAP or credit insurance—rather than a product or service expressly related to the motor vehicle or personal property would not qualify for exemption from the requirements of the MLA Regulation.” 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Guggenheim to start in Europe with real estate debt investments

first_imgGuggenheim is likely to target investments in the UK and Spain, although Goldstein also has responsibility for the French and Swedish markets.Goldstein said Spain offered the “best opportunities at the moment”, and that Guggenheim would therefore focus on this market, as well as the UK, in the first few months.In the UK, it will focus on office and industrial properties, both in central London and the regions.“Residential is flavour of the month in London,” Goldstein said. “But it is clearly frothy at the top.”Guggenheim, which attempted to acquire Deutsche Bank’s real estate investment management arm in 2012, established its real estate operation in 2001, and has been expanding its activities and building up a real estate portfolio in both debt and equity.In March 2013, the firm appointed Henry Silverman to the new position of global head of real estate and infrastructure.Goldstein said Guggenheim would be making a careful entry into the European real estate market, remarking that it was “important not to run before you can walk”.He said one of his strengths was his ability “to forge partnerships and long-term relationships”. Guggenheim Partners is expected to make its first European real estate investment via the debt markets and will maintain a particular focus on the UK and Spain, according to its new head of real estate.Jonathan Goldstein, who joined the US company this year to lead its new European real estate business, told IP Real Estate he was already working on concluding two debt investments.Goldstein, who spent the past five years as deputy chief executive at Heron International, said: “We have a couple of situations that are well advanced, and that is because they were in progress already.”He added: “We clearly have capacity on the debt side and clients who are yield-hungry on the equity side. It will be a slightly slower burn.”last_img read more

Nancy DeWees

first_imgNancy passed away at The Ridgewood Health Campus in Lawrenceburg on Friday, September 20. She was born in Hammond, Indiana on April 30, 1936. Her parents were Marvin and Elizabeth Anderson. She was married for 60 years to Thomas H. DeWees.Nancy was a 1954 graduate of Hughes High School in Cincinnati. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1958, earning degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Teachers College. At UC, she was a Dean’s List student and very active in student activities. Nancy was president of her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. She was selected for membership in Motor Board, the University’s honorary recognizing academic achievement and leadership. She met her husband, Tom, at UC when they were appointed co-chairpersons of a university committee.Nancy and Tom were married in 1959. They had two children, Pamela Sue and Thomas Edward. Nancy went to work as a teacher at Finneytown High School. She became a full time mom when she and Tom moved to Lawrenceburg, Indiana to join her parents in opening a family business, Ande Chevrolet-Olds. With the children grown, Nancy went back to work as a substitute teacher in the Lawrenceburg and South Dearborn Schools. She was a “full time sub” at South Dearborn High School. Nancy was a “Heart of Gold” volunteer. She was recognized as a Dearborn County Hospital “Pink Lady” with more than 11,000 hours of service. She also gave many hours of service to the Community Mental Health program, Kid-Ability , teaching elementary school kids how to recognize, avoid and report physical and sexual abuse. Nancy also gave her time to the Clearing House, P.A.W.S, Girl Scouts, and her church.Nancy was preceded in death by her parents and her daughter, Pamela Sue Minich. She is survived by her husband, Tom; her son Tom, (wife Sandy), son-in-law, John Minich; one granddaughter, Mary Kate DeWees, three grandsons, T.J DeWees, Joe and Nick Minich, two great grandchildren, Alya and Jack Minich. There will be a private burial service. There will be a memorial service at St. John Lutheran Church on Saturday, October 12, 2019 with visitation 12-2PM and service at 2PM. In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be made to St. John Lutheran Church, 4937 St. Road 48, Lawrenceburg, In 47025.last_img read more

Wakanow: Building on the Olympic Dream

first_imgDuro IkhazuagbeAs a former American NBA player and son of a successful businessman Obinna Ralph Ekezie, 41, had been exposed to entrepreneurship at the highest level early in life. Little wonder that after an illustrious professional basketball career that saw him play in the NBA for eight seasons and was selected as the 37th overall pick in the 1999 NBA draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies, the 2.8meters hunk would delve headlong into creating a business venture rather than looking for another paid job. Although his basketball career got the wings at Maryland Terrapins between 1995 and 1999, Ekezie insists that his father’s organisational ability first endeared him to be independent in life. Apart from learning the ropes from the senior Ekezie, the former NBA player looks in the direction of another former NBA player, Hakeem Olajuwon for inspirations. Playing for Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, was also very inspirational. He admitted taking every opportunity possible to learn from him. Today, Ekezie is the co-founder and CEO of Wakanow.com, the leading full-service, online travel company in Nigeria. His frustration from inability to easily book travel online between the USA and Nigeria and other parts of the world, largely informed the birth of Wakanow.com.Having cut his teeth in the Nigerian travel sphere in 2010 when he took advantage of the FIFA World Cup Africa was hosting for the first time in South Africa, Ekezie can now boast of Wakanow.com having the required expertise to handle any sports related travel and tour event. With the 2016 Olympic Games barely two months away in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, how prepared is Wakanow.com? “Wakanow is an on-line travel agency,” observed Ekezie.He stressed that as the leading online travel in Nigeria, “we sell flights, hotel and tour packages. We help customers secure their visas. We offer end-to-end solutions for travelers. We also offer services like the prepaid cards that enable customers to pay for their transactions abroad. Then, we also have travel sim cards that are global… that enables customers use one travel sim card globally and get the best rates. We accomplish all of these, using modern technology,” observed the Wakanow.com CEO with pride.He points at the agreement his company signed with the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) recently that gives him the right to sell tickets to Nigerians going for the Rio 2016 Olympics as an edge over competitors in the travel and tour business.“We have been doing sports tourism since 2010 when we started with the South Africa FIFA World Cup. The Olympics is sports tourism. We did the London 2012 Olympics, the Brazil 2014 World Cup and now we are doing the Olympics. These all involve travels and people want to get to Brazil. So, we want to help them get the tickets, seamless air and land travels, book accommodation and generally make it easy for them to watch the events.“We have different packages and anyone interested picks the package that is convenient for him or her. We have the package that caters for the opening ceremony and closing ceremony. It enables the tourist or fan to watch all the events. We also have follow my team, which enables the tourist to follow Samson Siasia’s Dream Team VI national Under-23 football team to the match venues. Nigeria is playing in Manaus and Sao Paolo, so anyone interested can follow the Nigerian team to watch its group matches. You can take three matches, two in Manaus and one in Sao Paolo. We also provide other logistic services for our clients,” Ekezie assured the Nigerian football community interested in going to Btazil in summer.The Wakanow.com CEO however warns that visa applications and getting the Brazilian visa is the responsibility of the individual.“Our job is to ensure the documentation is done correctly. Most of the time, the host country usually makes it easier for the traveler to enter their country.“We encourage people to start the procedure early so that we can do the processing easier for them. We understand some people have difficulty in making full payment for the packages, so we have created a platform to help them pay for their packages in installments. We have been trying to encourage people not to wait for the last minute to start rushing for it to avoid creating a chaotic situation. That is why we encourage people to book early and secure their packages in good time,” he advised.However, despite the optimism of basketball aficionados that the D’Tigers are going to Rio2016 to build on their poor debut performance at the London 2012 Games in Brazil, the former NBA star is not one to delude himself of Nigeria making it to the semi finals of the men’s basketball event.“I don’t buy the idea that Nigeria can make it to the semi finals. My own experience in basketball shows that we have not developed the facilities and the talents to aspire to such heights. We have a situation where most of our players are based abroad and meet for the first time a few weeks to a competition. They don’t have the time to know their teammates,” he cautioned.Ekezie recalled that when Nigeria featured at the World Championship in Greece in 1998, the players hardly knew themselves.“Before the World Championship, we met ourselves just two weeks before the event. We had to practice for just two weeks, get to know how team members play before our first match. Coupled with the management issues we have, I will be impressed if we go beyond the second round.“We can’t begin to aspire for the semi-final if we don’t create the platform to develop talents locally. In some other countries, the players know themselves from the youth set up such that by the time they get to the senior team, they are familiar with each other. Even when they go to play in other parts of the world, they still came back to play as a cohesive team. Germany, Lithuania, Greece, Australia, Spain, Turkey all have a consistent system that delivers quality players to their teams,” stressed the Wakanow.com chief.He dismissed the general impression that because the team emerged African champion and has been playing as a unit since 2012, it is likely to have blended into a formidable force at the Games.“They may qualify for the second round. If you start talking about semi-finals, what would happen to the United States? What about France, Lithuania, Greece, Spain, Russia, Argentina. There is no magic to it. I will say the best we can get is second round after that, any other thing is a bonus,” he noted with finality.Despite the not too rosy picture of what to expect from the game that brought him fame and fortune, Ekezie insists he remains positive on the business side of the game.“My interest in sports is on the business side and not as a community social responsibility. My interest is in investing in basketball; build a valuable business using basketball. It is unfortunate that we don’t have facilities where people can go to relax and watch their favourite sport. We don’t have a 10,000 seat capacity arena in a good location to draw the crowd to the sport. So, we need to invest in that so that we can conveniently host teams from other countries.“When you talk about sports, you talk about tourism; you talk about people coming into the country to spend their money. Millions of people will be going to Brazil to spend money. They will stay in hotels, book flights, patronise local businesses during their stay in the country. These are the things our people should understand. Sport is a money-making machine, which should attract huge investments if we want to harness the sector very well.”The former NBA player has a parting shot for those in charge of government and sports in the country.“Sport has been reduced to a kind of charity event in Nigeria. It is not a charity event… it is big business. Some of the highest paying jobs in the world are sports related. It is only in Nigeria that sports have been treated as some kind of charity, which is why we still rely on government to fund it.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more