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.
Two hostages were either pushed or jumped from the SUV, but Misty Holt-Singh was still in the vehicle when officers exchanged fire with her three kidnappers. Singh did not survive.
Stockton Police have said the investigation into the bank robbery, police pursuit, and shootouts with three documented Norteno gang members, who took three hostages, could take months to complete.
It would employ more than 6,000 people. California is considered a long-shot, but Stockton is has been touted as a top contender.
Several South Stockton residents wonder if their vote really counts. They are voicing their opposition to citywide elections, which allows people who live miles from their neighborhood to elect their district council member.
Eduardo Rosas Cruz, 26, first came on health officials’ radar in March, after he was diagnosed with a severe and contagious strain of TB. According to the court complaint, he didn’t comply with treatment.
California’s drought has not dried up the farms in Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys the way it’s destroyed farms south of Merced County. The league of California Cities Latino Caucus executive director said if you travel to Fresno and Tulare counties, it’s a very different landscape.
Tony Noceti does harvest walnuts in French Camp, but he has a history of bringing beloved Stockton history back to life. In 2008, Noceti and his wife, Carol, reopened the Stockton speedway.
Chief Eric Jones shared a cup of coffee, while residents in South Stockton shared their concerns. This is the fourth casual meeting Jones has set up with a Stockton neighborhood where he and other officers listen to neighbors voice their opinions and ask questions about the police force.
Holt-Singh, 41, was taken hostage in a Bank of West branch by AK-47 wielding robbers while her 12-year-old daughter waited outside in the car. Holt-Singh was shot while in the back of the suspects’ stolen SUV during the ensuing gun battle after they stopped fleeing and turned to face police with their assault rifles.
Manteca Police said Brian Michael Lancaster and Ryan Anthony Monaco are being transported to San Joaquin County Jail and face charges of auto theft, possession of stolen property, arson, and conspiracy.
The Stockton Fire Department proposed displaying public safety messages on removable decals as a way to bring in revenue. Fire officials have researched a similar fire department advertising program happening in Arizona.
Vendors on 10th Street said they love the Saturday farmers market, despite the street being closed, because it attracts new business. The Wednesday farmers market, however, is not as popular with a few business owners.