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You Make Us Great, Here is to 2010!

By   /   April 27, 2014  /   Comments Off

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FLASHBACK TO YEAR 2010-Cactus Thorns grew up this year to became more than just a personal blog. While I still post the occasional rant, others have joined on to make this blog, a real alternative news source. I would like to take a few minutes out of your day to thank those who have contributed to the success of the website and poke a finger in the eye of a few that have made the front page by doing the silly things they do.

Branson Hunter

We like to rib Branson Hunter for his left wing lunacy sometimes, but we have to hand it to him, he has turned out to be our Star Reporter. Meticulously fair when it comes to local stories, he has managed to ruffle feathers on both side of every issue he has reported.

Branson’s most recent story line has been a very contentious zoning issue, concerning a commercial gun range in a residential neighborhood. His stories have riveted the community and have garnered well over 12 thousand reads and growing.

Branson is not alone in writing interesting and compelling articles that interest our readers.

Ken Peil

Ken Peil who writes under the non de plume of ken@wondervalley92277, has covered off-road issues with his trademark passion and humor that has brought thousands of readers to us. His dogged pursuit of the race baiting eco-loons has been the hallmark of his style.

Ken has actually made a difference because of his writing. When ken writes people down in the County Seat listen. He does have a good pulse on what the average Joe-six-pac wants, believes and will fight for. He is a real asset to Cactusthorns.


Fred is our resident right-wing grouch. He gives us the political balance to Branson’s sometimes way out on a limb Alex Jones conspiracy theories. It is always a great read when both of these guys get into one of their on line battles.

Fred has done a bang up job of covering the National Political Scene from a classic old fashioned conservative viewpoint. I’m not alone in reading his posts as he has thousands of reads by our users and I never miss one of his articles.


Mark Lanham (Desert Rider) is not only a good friend but a fellow off-road enthusiast and the spokesman for Friends of Giant Rock (FOGR).

Mark keeps us abreast of the happenings around the off-road community and the current happenings at the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. Along with other members of FOGR, Mark is able to communicate to our readers the other side of the story that the Local Media refuses to cover.

Steve Spear

What other Morongo Basin news outlet other than Cactusthorns can boast that they have a local political shaker and mover as a regular contributer?

Steve Spear is a Twentynine Palms Council Member. He is outspoken and is a stickler for doing what is right for the community.

Steve has learned that we serve thousands of readers in the Morongo Basin and if you want to get your issues out in front of the public Cactus Thorns is one of the best ways to do it.

Steve is often on the right side of issues that go against the grain of the Status Quo. Often attacked in the Local Media, he knows that we will allow him open and unfettered access to our readers to answer the more sleazy and juvenile attacks that have been launched against him over the years.

His articles have become an overwhelmingly popular addition to Cactusthorns.

Steve Brown

The newest member of our team, Steven Brown gives more than a great read to those who follow him here and in his Sun Runner Magazine. He helps prove that we  are a great place to clear the air.

Conceived in 1994, The Sun Runner magazine was born during the revitalization of 29 Palms – when this quiet desert community, asleep in an economic slump, suddenly awoke and began to reinvent itself. Residents and merchants were busy creating the Mural Project, cleaning up the streets, remodeling commercial facades, starting new visitor-friendly businesses, and spawning new annual events and fund-raisers for 29 Palms. A vehicle was needed to “get the word out” to the community and to the world. “Something is happening in 29 Palms: Catch the Spirit!” was the motto.

Capturing the spirit of the renaissance, resident Vickie Waite founded The Sun Runner Arts & Entertainment Magazine, became its Publisher & Editor, and sought local writers and artists to contribute to its pages.  The first issue was distributed on January 1, 1995, offering photography, art, intelligent writing, and a social calendar to a culture-hungry community.  By January 3, the community’s response to this new publication was overwhelmingly positive. Subscriptions began rolling in.  Advertisers began to call.  The rest is history.

Over the next nine-and-a-half years, Waite grew The Sun Runner’s coverage area, advertising, and distribution, to include all of the hi-desert/Morongo Basin. But wanting to eventually retire, Waite actively sought out someone to take over the growing publication.

On June 1, 2004, Yucca Valley resident, award-winning journalist and musician, Steve Brown, joined The Sun Runner as Publisher and Executive Editor to continue the magazine’s growth. The magazine moved from a quarterly publishing schedule to a bi-monthly basis, beginning with the Oct./Nov. 2004 issue and increased its print circulation at that time as well.

We hope Mr. Brown remains a regular contributer to our site. His legendary content and professional style gives Cactusthorns that touch of class that keeps the rest of us writers striving to emulate.

Along with the ever popular barbs of Ron Brault, who is always good for a great editorial, we have the contributions of Mike Hawkins, Ray Pessa, Hmmm, Gary Daigneault and the scores of you our loyal subscribers who frequent our pages with biting criticism, cleaver insight and absolute knock down,  fall out of your chair humor.

Some of the stories that we’ve covered here last year made a real and lasting difference to the community. Some of those stories included the MBTA story, the 29 Palms Chamber stories, 29s no bid contracts, Phil Klasky, OHV issues, Zoning issues, Pot Shops, gun issues and deaths on the highway. There are more stories than we can list here that only we covered.

We’ve caused politicians to pause and take another look at many issues that people want changed. We’ve reported on important stories when the local media outlets have hid their heads in the sand. We have much to be proud of this year.

We are not done yet

I would ask our readers not to be shy, there is plenty room and you are welcome to join with us. If you have a story let us hear about it. Submit a story for the front-page. We’re always looking for a new writer or in some cases a new whipping boy. We are the fastest growing news outlet in the High-Desert and you will be read by thousands.

We are looking forward to an even bigger year in 2010. Its an election year and as always it will prove to be an unlimited source of great articles.

I would like to thank our many thousands of readers for your support and patience during our unprecedented growth. We hope to never let you down.

Merry Christmas to all and a very very Happy New Year.


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About the author

Dan OBrien


Cactus Thorns has been online in one form or the other since 2001. What started as a personal blog documenting the corruption and lack of Due Process of the 29 Palms Community Development Department has turned into over these many years into a hugely popular Independent Alternative News Media Outlet. We have partnered with other media including The Desert Star Weekly, Joshua Tree Star, other blogs, indie media and an incredible staff of volunteer Reporters, Commentators and Opinion Makers to create one of the most read, honest and dependable alternative to the Local traditional Media services in the country. Thanks to you the reader we are in the 5% of most read sites in the World.

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