Leigh Martinez is the multimedia journalist covering the San Joaquin Valley.
Previously, Leigh was the weekend anchor at KGET 17 in Bakersfield and also 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.
A state senator wants to ban recycled tires used in the artificial turf at schools and playgrounds because there may be a link to cancer. That has people asking what this ban would mean for local schools that already have the turf and the businesses that produce it.
Local artists now share gallery space with a world renowned 20th Century surrealist painter. The unlikely owner of the artwork is the City of Stockton, but it was locked away in the city vault for years until a local art group stepped in to display it.
On Dec. 4, homeless encampments became illegal in the city under Manteca’s Municipal Code. The city attorney can also prosecute people cited for public urination or defecation.
Jessica Glynn was selected by the City Manager and members of the Marshal Plan to head the new department. Glynn has worked in Kosovo, the border town of Harlingen, Texas, and recently New York City.
The DMV doesn’t know why the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend is busier than Mondays after other four-day weekends. At the Stockton and Broadway Sacramento offices, customers were waiting in line for different reasons.
The commotion on Black Friday wasn’t at the checkout lines, it was in the parking lot. Dozens of Walmart employees like cashier Kiana Howard chose Black Friday to speak out against the country’s biggest retailer.
A gym teacher in Stockton is on paid leave and faces criminal charges after he allegedly tried to force a high school student into the swimming pool during class.
If the bright flood lights weren’t enough to disrupt your sleep, the construction crew says it gets a lot louder when they try to pump a well.
Stockton residents said Wednesday they have a lot of questions about why two veteran detectives pulled over councilwoman-elect Christina Fugazi, but decided not to cite her despite their report alleging drug and alcohol use.
According to the report, officers said when Manning rolled down his window the officers smelled a strong odor of marijuana. A search of Fugazi’s car uncovered a cup that appeared to have held alcohol and an empty bottle of Hennessey under Fugazi’s seat.
Police said the crimes all occurred in just a two-mile radius from each other and the suspect entered the homes through an open window.
The construction work being done on the new Stockton courthouse is surrounded by a chainlink fence, but construction crews said a distraught man slipped in the site through a gap and quickly climbed 13 stories of the first crane.