Leigh Martinez is the multimedia journalist covering the San Joaquin Valley.
Previously, Leigh was the weekend anchor at KGET 17 in Bakersfield and spent three years covering the San Joaquin Valley for KXTV News 10.
During her news career, Leigh had the first in-depth look into Stockton’s gangs, gaining unprecedented access with the city’s Crips and Nortenos. She also covered Stockton’s bankruptcy, the Speed Freak serial killers, and produced a two-part investigation into Heroin addiction.
Leigh is a returned Peace Corps volunteer, who served in the Republic of Armenia from 2006-2008 teaching English. She also worked for USAID teaching journalism at Yerevan University.
Leigh is an adventure sport enthusiast. She’s climbed the top of Yosemite’s Half Dome at night to see the sunrise, bungee jumped in Jackson, CA, went sky-diving in outside of Philadelphia, scuba dived in Egypt’s Red Sea, she hiked the Na Pali Coast Trail in Kauai, wind surfed in Alameda, and climbed a volcano in Costa Rica. Next on her bucket list are dark water rafting in New Zealand’s glow worm caves and hang gliding in Northern California.
Getting Answers with Leigh Martinez
1) How long have you lived in Northern California? I moved here in 2010, then moved to Bakersfield for 10 months starting in 2013. Now I’m back!
2) Where are you from originally? Camden County, New Jersey.
3) Do you have any siblings? I had a younger brother Jared, who was a U.S. Marine, an artist, and my best friend. He was a great man and everyone loved him.
4) Do you have any pets? I love big dogs, but don’t have my own yet. Growing up, we had a goldadore (golden retriever, yellow lab mix).
5) iPhone or Android? Android, but I may get an iPhone for backup.
6) What’s your favorite app? MyFitnessPal
7) What’s your favorite thing about working in news? I’m never lonely and I get to help people tell their stories.
8) What’s your favorite book? Russka, the History of Russia by Edward Rutherfurd. I have a fascination with Russia and this book is historic fiction spanning 1,800 years of Russia’s history, politics, and culture.
9) What’s your favorite movie? Braveheart
10) What’s your favorite TV show? Game of Thrones
11) Who is your favorite band? Rancid
12) What’s your favorite concert you’ve ever been to? Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee 2010.
13) What’s the one thing about you that would surprise us? I adore alpacas and llamas. Someday, I hope to have an alpaca ranch.
14) What’s your favorite past time? Traveling to extraordinary places not many people know about.
15) If you could drive any car what would it be? Tesla Model S
16) Who’s the person you most admire? My mom. I wish I was half the woman she is.
17) What’s your favorite quote? “Actions speak louder than words.”
18) What’s the one place you’d like to visit that you’ve never been to before? Oh wow, there are too many to narrow it down to one. I definitely would like to explore Russia and take the Trans Siberian Railroad, and I want to swim in Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls in Zambia.
19) What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited? Armenia! It’s the most magical place. It’s like stepping into another world with it’s ancient culture, vaulted stone monasteries, villages built in the most remote places, and the friendliest people.
20) Who’s your favorite actor/actress? Christopher Walken and Angelina Jolie
21) What do you do for exercise? Heavy weightlifting in NPC bodybuilding fitness training.
22) What’s your favorite area restaurant? Fiori’s Butcher Shoppe in Lodi. Amazing sandwiches!
23) What food could you not live without? Peanut butter.
24) What’s your favorite Northern California attraction? Yosemite’s Half Dome
25) Where’s the strangest/farthest place you’ve been recognized? I’m not that big of a deal, but news viewers go grocery shopping and occasionally say hello to me.
26) At what age did you decide you were interested in news? I was a kid wanting to be TV reporter April O’Neill from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
Leigh’s recent stories
- California Farmers Claim EPA Water Rules Extend To Dirt FieldsThe Environmental Protection Agency says any bodies of water near a river, or standing water that can affect waterways will fall under federal regulation.
- Manteca Short On Hotel Rooms As City’s Marketing Pays OffIt’s been a little crowded in Manteca this week.
- Sonora Named One Of The Richest Small Towns In AmericaDowntown Sonora doesn't look like Rodeo Drive, but locals say not everything is the way it appears to be in this small mountain community.
- State Bar Wants To Take Over Cases From Modesto Attorney Accused Of MurderSince Carson’s arrest nearly two weeks ago, one of his clients' trials has been delayed, and the state bar wants to take over his law practice.
- Calaveras County Residents Worry State Will Euthanize Orphaned Bear CubsThe three bear cubs have been seen together around the community of Mountain Ranch, but the Department of Fish and Wildlife says their best chance of survival is if they stay away from people.
- Seminar Helps Substitute Teachers Get Ready For Longer Stints In Classrooms Amid ShortageThe Teachers College of San Joaquin has announced a new program to help get first-time teachers ready for the classroom to help meet demand.
- Tracy Save Mart Closure Will Leave Food Desert In Its WakeSave Mart Corporation says this store was not performing well, so it decided to close it. But for loyal customers, this is a huge loss, as there is no other supermarket this side of town.
- Manteca Schools Struggling To Find Teachers To Fill Gaps After Recession LayoffsThe Manteca Unified School District says it could have a crisis on its hands next year if it can’t find more certified teachers.
- Mold Found In Stockton Classrooms, But School Is Still In SessionEarlier this month and before classes started, teachers found the airborne mold spores in rooms A1 and B1. Neither are in use.
- Report: ‘Sympathetic Gunfire’ Led To 600 Rounds Fired By Police In Stockton Bank Robbery StandoffWhile the report from The Police Foundation didn’t fault the Stockton Police Department, it did point out problems that the department needs to address. It doesn’t challenge the department’s use of deadly force, but says 600 shots fired was excessive.
- High-Profile Defense Attorney, 3 CHP Officers Arrested In Connection With MurderA high-profile criminal defense attorney and a California Highway Patrol officer have been arrested in connection with an intricate tale of murder and the elaborate plan to cover it up.
- Criminal Grand Juries Banned In Officer-Involved Shooting CasesThe ban, which was signed by the governor Tuesday is drawing both praise and criticism.
- Tracy Business Owners Feel Left Out Of New Downtown BoundariesEast 10th Street has the signs promoting the City Center Association, but because it sits on the opposite side of Central Avenue, it's technically not a part of downtown.
- Modesto School District Creating Video Warning Parents To Drive SafelyThe district and the police are working on a safety video that will be posted on the district’s website later this week and be shown at back-to-school nights to remind parents how to safely drive up to the schools.
- Mural Project Has Recovering Addicts Helping Modesto VFW Hall Gain ExposureModesto’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall on Hatch Road says it has a lot of programs and activities to offer, but members suspect not many people know where it is.
- Napa Winery Filling Part Of Employment Hole Left By General MillsThe Napa winery says because a lot of its grape production is done in Lodi, moving it's bottling and shipping to Lodi makes sense. For the city of Lodi, it makes jobs."
- Stockton Bank Robbery Hostage Who Jumped From Car During Pursuit Filing LawsuitKoussaya was one of three women taken hostage by three gunmen who came into the Bank of the West in Stockton on July 16, 2014.
- Stockton Bank Robbery Hostage: Leap From Car Caused Brain InjuryStephanie Koussaya jumped out of the speeding car during the police chase and shootout that followed last July’s bank robbery that claimed the life of fellow hostage Misty Holt-Singh.
- Mystery Deepens Around Human Bones Found In Linden Attic After Man’s DeathDoug Mapes died outside his Linden home in December. His stepson, Kenny Cunigan, went up to the attic to help his mother clean out Mapes’ belongings when they made a disturbing discovery in a box.
- Environmentalists, Loggers Team Up To Protect California Parks By Thinning Forests ResponsiblyMore than half of the Stanislaus National Forest is dense enough it’s hard to walk through. Now, an unlikely partnership has formed to try and reduce devastating wildfires.