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Starbucks goes to L.A.

Starbucks will relocate its Entertainment unit to Santa Monica from its current Seattle base and has hired music industry whiz Alan Mintz to head the operation. [24×7]

Cheryl Scott named Gates Foundation COO
Cheryl Scott, the former chief executive of Group Health Cooperative, has been named chief operating officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest charity with a $29 billion endowment.

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Scott, who will begin June 26, worked 25 years at Group Health in various leadership roles until her retirement in 2004. She is also a clinical associate professor in the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington. [24×7]

Fisher Communications sells 24 Stations for $33.3 Million
Fisher Communications said it is selling 24 small-market radio stations in Montana and Eastern Washington for $33.3 million, keeping only its three radio stations in Seattle — KOMO, KVI and KPLZ.

Fisher, which also has TV stations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, said it will focus on improving profits at its remaining stations. Fisher also sees an opportunity in Spanish-language television and will use funds from the sale to pay for the previously announced purchase of KPOU, which provides Hispanic TV programming to Portland. [24×7]

E-Book Fair to offer Free Downloads
Electronic-book devotees may want to set aside some extra screen time this summer, as two non-profits are preparing to provide free access to 300,000 texts online.

Project Gutenberg and World eBook Library plan to make “a third of a million” e-books available free for a month at the first World eBook Fair. Downloads will be available at the fair’s Web site from July 4, the 35th anniversary of Project Gutenberg’s founding, through Aug. 4.

Most of the books will be contributed by the World eBook Library. It otherwise charges $8.95 a year for access to its database of more than 250,000 e-books, documents and articles.

The book fair won’t be the last chance for e-bookworms to devour works ranging from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” to “Old Indian Legends,” not to mention dictionaries and thesauruses, without paying for them.

Project Gutenberg founder Michael Hart, who announced the ambitious plan a month ago, said Friday the partners are on track to make 1 million books available for the annual fair’s one-month run in 2009, with more appearing in subsequent years. About 100,000, he said, will be permanently available at the handful of Project Gutenberg sites on the Internet. [24×7]