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.
The woman is the girlfriend of one of the armed robbers from July’s deadly Bank of The West robbery. The robber, as well as a hostage in the standoff and pursuit, were killed in a shootout with Stockton Police.
Central Valley farmers say they need two things to be successful: Water and honey bees. But both are in short supply this year. A local beekeeper says he’s having trouble finding enough bees for area farms and ranches. So, where did they all go?
Lodi business owners told city hall they’ve seen a significant number of homeless coming through their alleyways, and they say the crimes they are witnessing have them too afraid to approach the homeless themselves.
The six Yamada brothers paid off the property loan and donated the land. The Delta Island Elementary School was built, but Sid Yamada added a clause to the gift deed: if the district stops using the land for school purposes, his family gets their land returned.
Stockton Police couldn’t confirm whether the car was at one time a real patrol car, but on Thursday, four adults used it to make people think they were law enforcement.
After an officer-involved death, the officer is placed on at least three days paid-administrative leave and a city contracted psychologist must clear him or her to return to duty. Black Leadership Council president, Ralph Lee White argues the psychologist should be chosen at random for each incident.
Police are trying to figure out who made the bombs that were found in Olga Myshnova’s vehicle after she was allegedly caught shoplifting twice. They say what she planned to do with the bombs could lead to federal charges.
Off of Highway 4, Jessica Van Ruiten’s family is about wine. Her grandfather started the award-winning winery after World War II. Now she’s ready to take the brand into the spotlight.
The City of Manteca has begun taking out traffic curbs jutting out into lanes on Main Street. The concrete patches, also called “calmings” or “bulbs”, were put in during the early 2000s and created an uproar from drivers and business owners, who said they congested traffic and took away parking spaces.
Bank of the West manager Kelly Huber walks with a cane six months after she was taken hostage and shot during the botched robbery. Her attorney, Michael Dyer, said she’s had a gun pointed at her face four or five times by robbers, but this time she blames the police for putting her in the most dangerous situation in her life.
Sunday afternoon, a police support rally shared space with a police brutality protest at the Capitol.
Gabriel Felix Flores started boxing at 7 years old inside his father’s garage. By age 11, Flores started to show real talent as a boxer, winning his first championship and picked up Stockton Monuments as his sponsor.