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.
Tony Noceti, the man who rescued the festival when Stockton announced it wasn’t going to happen this year, made a gamble to move it to the county fairgrounds and give it a new name.
State law requires water meters be installed at all California homes. But some Californians are paying more for those meters than others depending on where they live.
Wenger took down the trees on Tuesday 27 years after he planted them. There’s nothing wrong with the trees, and they still produce walnuts. But Wenger’s irrigation district by nearly 30 percent.
Louis E. Borchardt Elementary School sits in the middle of a Lodi neighborhood, but parents like Melissa Maple say some drivers don’t see their kids outside.
“I knew there was going to be hail, but I never witnessed hail like that,” said Dino Mencarini. “It came down pretty hard. It came down pretty hard. Our parking lot was just white.”
While he declined to speak on camera, owner Jeffrey Klein says he suspects he may have overwatered the asparagus during the winter months. But the University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension doesn’t think that’s the case.
The students had to answer questions through texts while they shot basketballs, which proved difficult for Steven Jones. He’s familiar with the downfall of multitasking while texting.
It may be hot, dry and water-deprived, but some plants in Tracy thrive. Unfortunately some residents think they’re the wrong kind of plants.
River City Brewing Company says it wanted to be a part of the new arena, but owners say they were only given a six-month lease last summer and no straight answers on their future. Now they say they’re forced to move jobs out of Sacramento.
The business owners on 10th Street say they work hard to bring in out-of-town customers, but the city isn’t giving them the time to keep them.
The cost of keeping cows fed through a drought may be too costly for valley ranchers, but if more cows are sent to slaughter, it could drive up the price of beef.
While Chris Breheim’s coffee maker is working, other customers don’t know if their appliances will turn back on after the power surge. Scarred outlets show the damage left behind by Monday’s accident.