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.
Lodi Vintners bottles for local wine makers, but it also makes several gallons of wine for multiple Napa wineries. Owner and vice president of operations, Tyson Rippey, lives in Napa and has another family winery there. Rippey said the earthquake damage to Napa’s wineries is bad. His family’s winery was spared, but a Sonoma storage facility lost wine after tanks leaked.
Friday afternoon, the three-story garage with more than 300 spaces was mostly empty. There were no visible security personnel around the building, but there were signs stating the garage had video surveillance.
Parking restrictions on East 12 Street and Berverdor Avenue keep high-school students and their parents out of the neighborhood and homeowners couldn’t be happier.
Six Modesto homeowners face $1,500 fines for stealing water from the Empire Canal behind their homes. The Modesto Irrigation District said it discovered illegal siphons at the homes of five neighbors and one woman started pumping more water after her allocated share ran out.
The movie theater released a statement saying the theater would be closed until Thursday after “limited evidence of insect activity” was found inside some auditoriums.
The Ferguson, Missouri, officer-involved shooting death of an unarmed black teenager has the courts and law enforcement asking how they can get facts when both sides tell very different stories.
The Warehouse Shoe Sales said it needs a sign twice as big as what is allowed, because it doesn’t think potential customers will be able to see it from where it sits from East Hatch Road.
Mike Vilhauer hasn’t been fishing all year, because of the state drought. A friend told him there may be fish up in Wet Meadows Reservoir, so Vilhauer decided to make the trip alone last Wednesday.
Migratory birds from the Arctic and prairie states, some flying more than 3,000 miles, will arrive in Central California in the next month, but conservationists worry there’s not enough water or food to get many of them through the winter.
Now park officials are trying something cartoon Wile E. Coyote might do. They ordered a trick, though it didn’t come in an Acme box.
The drought has forced many homeowners and farmers to dig deeper wells, tapping into the California aquifer. A recent Take Part web publication, citing NASA scientists, suggests using too much of this underground water could cause earthquakes.
The university recently renovated its science buildings and added three solar panels, which helped it make Princeton Review’s Green College list.