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
- Record Heat Giving Cherry Farmers Hope For Better Year After DroughtFor the past three years, Central Valley cherry trees have underperformed. But now it looks like bing cherries will go bang.
- Study: Levees Meant For Flood Control Can Instead Increase RiskUC Davis researchers say in some cases levees can do more harm than good when it comes to flooding.
- Ceres High Student Says School’s Prom Dress Code Goes Too FarNada Abdo says the dress code seems reasonable in print, but the rules are more strictly enforced by the activities director.
- Sacramento SPCA Turning Away Animals After Pet Owners Drop Off More Than 350 Dogs In 2016There were several adoptions on Friday, but not enough to end the moratorium, and anyone who shows up with a dog will be turned away.
- Foresthill Homeowners On Lookout For 3 Mexican Nationals Who Fled Traffic StopThe Placer County Sheriff’s Office says the men who had five guns in their car took off running during a traffic stop heading toward the Tahoe National Forest on Wednesday afternoon.
- New Placer County Emergency Dispatch System Will Accept Texts, Live StreamsIf you are outside Rocklin police department and text 911, you'll get a response telling you to place a voice call.
- Support For Lowering Legal Blood-Alcohol Level To .05 Hard To Find Outside NTSBIt’s the second time the National Transportation Safety Board has pushed the change, but it has no authority to make the change and is instead pressing states to make the change.
- Stockton Water Meeting Questions Use Of Chloramine In City’s Drinking SupplyEnvironmental activist Erin Brockovich says she came to Stockton, because citizens wanted answers about how safe the chemical is in the water supply.
- New Tenant Eyes Manteca Land Great Wolf Walked Away From, But There’s A CatchThe real-estate developer says manteca has no shortage of interested parties, but the new and unidentified resort front-runner wants to more than double the property.
- Lodi Wineries Hoping To Cash In On Weddings May Face Tough Choice With Williamson ActThe San Joaquin County Farm Bureau says at least one winery is declining the tax break to be able to start hosting events, but there’s a catch: The Williamson Act is a 10-year contract, and getting out of it could take years and a lot more money.
- Stockton Girl, 8, Credited For Stopping Dad From Killing FianceeThe woman who survived a brutal attack spoke to CBS13. She says the man she planned to marry, Sammie Flonnery, beat her and then attacked her with a kitchen knife. She was pinned to the floor by his knees as his 8-year-old daughter watched.
- Stockton Airport Aims To Go International, Attract Los Angeles Flight TrafficStarting in April, flights will be offered between Stockton and San Diego. The airport is also expecting private planes coming in for Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7.
- Stockton City Officials Skipping Water Meeting, Calling It A Political Event By MayorTwo years ago, Stockton needed a solution to clean its Delta water into safe drinking water, and the City Council, mayor and city manager all agreed to use chloramines to disinfect the water.
- San Joaquin County Fair Set To Return In JuneThe fairgrounds opened itself to events every day except for Christmas last year for everything from bingo, to weddings to horse betting.
- Food Network Star Guy Fieri Stops In Modesto, Stockton Restaurants For ShowFieri was spotted in Stockton, taking his red Camaro to the Green Papaya food truck where they serve up Lao and Thai food.
- Stockton Suspect Accused Of Assaulting Girl In Group Home Had Run Through NeighborhoodMultiple neighbors on the 3100 block of Nicole Street say the main tried to break into their homes and jumped on rooftops before entering the group home.
- UC Davis Scientists Flood Modesto Orchards In Hopes Of Finding Way To Restore GroundwaterThe state issued its first temporary groundwater storage permit for the experiment, and it’s interested in giving out more permits and streamlining the process.
- Is Stockton’s Water Supply Safe? Concerns Raised Over Disinfectant That Could Damage PipesResidents may not have even noticed the difference if it wasn’t for celebrity environmental activist Erin Brockovich posting on Facebook about it. She called the city “lazy” and “cheap” for using chloramines to clean the water.
- After 3 Arrests In Sikh Temple Fight, Turlock Police Urge Calm Before Next ServiceBalwinder Kaur Bagri and Gurdeb Singh of Madera and Sandeep Singh of Ceres were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and additional charges.
- Neighborhood Blitz Program Slashes Crime In Stockton NeighborhoodsThe program is a combination of code enforcement cleanup and heavy police presence in one area for three months.