OPEN AIR CONCERT – From left, musicians Ross Venneberg, Brian Neal, Wade Demmert and Roger Schmidt perform an outdoor brass concert for residents of the Pioneers Home Monday. The professional musicians, who are hunkered down in Sitka, are regulars at the annual Holiday Brass Concert. The Pioneers Home has been closed to visitors during the pandemic. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Jesse Lynn Baxter Dies; Former Sitkan was 30

Jesse Lynn Baxter

Jesse Lynn Baxter

Jesse Lynn Baxter, 30, formerly of Sitka, Halfway, Oregon, and Baker City, Oregon, died suddenly Feb. 7, 2019, in Pendleton, Oregon.
A celebration of her life was held Feb. 16 at Harvest Christian Church in Baker City.
Jesse Lynn Baxter was born March 20, 1988, in Sitka to Dan and Melody Baxter. She spent her first four years in Sitka, where her family commercial fished on their F/V Venus. In 1992 the family moved to Halfway, returning to Southeast for the next 10 summers to fish on their F/V Northern Star.
Jesse was home-schooled, along with her five younger siblings, until her high school years when she took art, Spanish and writing at Pine Eagle High in Halfway.
 From an early age Jesse was a natural at almost everything she did. She thrived in sports, winning Best All Around Gymnast at her very first meet in Burns, Oregon, at the age of 8, and went on to win two state titles in her teen years – one with Baker City girls All-Star softball team, another with Pine Eagle girls basketball team.
Jesse’s other passions included scrap-booking, writing poems and life experiences; she loved documenting everything. She spent hours making photo collages of friends and family that covered her walls.
“She had the biggest heart you could imagine, and always was overly generous,” her family said. “Giving gifts was the highlight of her life; even when she had little to give she would take time to make something herself, and you could always feel how much of her heart really went into it. It was all personal with Jesse, no matter who or what, she truly cared.”
 She attended EOU after receiving her GED in 2005. She left college early to care for her grandma, Helen Baxter, who was fighting cancer. 
 This was the beginning of Jesse’s passion of caring for the elderly. She always had the biggest heart, taking care of everyone else first, her siblings, animals – anything with a pulse, she was saving it. After her grandma passed she worked the next few years in assisted living centers.
Jesse loved the beach, sun and the ocean. She wasn’t fond of winters but always thrived when the sun was shining warm. She loved sand, collected it and would bring it home from every family vacation. The beach was her happy place.
 Jesse always wanted to be a mother and have a family. At the age of 25 she was blessed with the most beautiful baby boy, Taylor John Baxter, who was the joy of her life.  In her last few years she met the love of her life and fiancé, Marcus Allen Nelson. They had a home together in Pendleton, and had plans to be married in the near future.
Jesse was preceded in death by her grandma, Helen Baxter, grandparents Gilbert and Gail Meyer, Pastor Bob Benton, friend, and brother-at-heart Taylor Royce Wood.
Jesse is survived by her son, Taylor Baxter and fiancé Markus Nelson of Pendleton, and her beloved family – parents Dan Baxter of Juneau and Melody Baxter of Baker City, siblings Callie of Sitka and Josh, Abby, Ben and Sam Baxter of Baker City, and many extended relatives, grandparents, aunts, uncles, beloved cousins and friends.
 “Thank you all for your love and support,” her family said. “Rest easy, our beautiful, Jesse.”
“Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres ...” – I Corinthians 13:7.
Those who would like to make a memorial donation in memory of Jesse to help with service expenses, or for Taylor’s future, may do so through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home & Cremation Services P.O. Box 543 Halfway, OR 97834. Online condolences may be shared at



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-7-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:15 p.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Sunday: 19

Total statewide – 1,184

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (3 resident; 5 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 12 (10 resident; 2 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 78.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.



Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020



For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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