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
- National Weather Service: Tornado Touched Down Near WaterfordWild winds came tearing through Stanislaus County on Wednesday as part of a storm that spawned a tornado near the town of Waterford.
- X-Fest Facing Permit Problems As Modesto Adds New RulesThe promoter for X-Fest got permission 16 years ago from 60 percent of Downtown Modesto merchants to close off streets for the music festival.
- Stockton’s Mayor Anthony Silva Says He’s BlackStockton's mayor has a reputation of making unusual and controversial statements.
- Boaters Find Bodies In Submerged Car In North StocktonThe city’s traffic investigation team spent the day trying to determine how and when the car ended up in the White Slough. Two boaters discovered the partially submerged sedan at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
- Cliffside Calaveras County Home Set To Fall Into Lake TullochThe county flagged the home unsafe after it was informed of the slipping two weeks ago.
- San Joaquin County Man Who Died After High-Voltage Tower Climb IdentifiedInvestigators say the man died on Saturday after climbing the second tier of a high-voltage electrical tower in Lockeford, near Lodi.
- Modesto Police Launch Hate Crime Investigation Over Snapchat ThreatThe attorney for the student says his client knows who the boy in the video is, but has had no other interactions with him. There is also a second boy in the recording heard off-camera who says the victim’s name.
- South Modesto Community Pool May Stay Dry With Costly Code ProblemsThe pool, however, no longer meets safety and health requirements by the county health department. The entire pool needs to be replastered and retiled.
- California Districts Find Ways To Get By Without Federal Water AllotmentsThe East Stockton Water District and the Central San Joaquin Conservation District won’t be getting their allotments because the New Melones Reservoir was at 42 percent of its average.
- Stockton Wants To Test Water Monthly For Lead, Copper LeechingCity water staff will drop off a kit with bottles and instructions. The homeowner will collect the water samples and then can leave the kit outside the front door, and the water department will come back to pick it up.
- Wet El Nino Brings Threat Of Increased Fire Danger To CaliforniaStockton Fire said the current green glass will dry out in the next few weeks, making it perfect fuel for fire. If homeowners don't cut the grass, Stockton Fire Prevention writes citations.
- Man Fires 2 Shots Into Stockton Burger King Drive-ThruPolice say the man was caught on video surveillance at 2 a.m. approaching the Pershing Avenue Burger King drive thru on foot, before pulling out a handgun.
- Chloramine Concerns At Center Of Stockton Water ForumThe Stockton Water Treatment Plant says it tests the water weekly and has been getting good results with the disinfectant to clean the water.
- Oregon Teens Spend Spring Break Cleaning Up ModestoModesto churches and the Morning Star Community Church in Salem have a partnership running 26 years strong. Youth from the church come down every year to help.
- Reward Offered To Find Woman Accused Of Assaulting Delta College ProfessorStudents are away on spring break, but one professor is on their minds. Two weeks ago, a female professor was attacked and robbed inside the women’s bathroom at Holt Center.
- Drought Conservation May Bring Higher Water Bills To StocktonStockton city officials say homeowners like Casale did such a good job conserving water, that the water treatment plant has lost millions of dollars in revenue. The city manager and water department director say water rates may rise.
- Fight Over Turlock Farmers Market Ends, But Vendors Worry About FutureAfter five months and another five-hour city council meeting, no decision was made on who would operate the farmers market. So, the original organizers—the nonprofit volunteers—decided to back down.
- Mother Saves Daughter From Pit Bull Attack In TurlockA six-month-old baby in a bouncy seat was attacked by the family pit bull, and Turlock police say the mom's quick thinking saved her baby's life.
- Home Water Filter Could Provide Answer To Stockton’s Chloramine ProblemSince January, Stocktonians have worried about the disinfectants added to the city’s water supply J.H. Simpson owner Mike Lawson started looking into filters.
- Man, 3 Children Saved From Deadly Crash On Highway 4 West Of StocktonOn Sunday night, a family of six heading to the East Bay in their Dodge van didn’t make it home. Right before the bridge leading into Contra Costa County, a Chevy pickup hit them head-on, sending the van into the canal below Highway 4.