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13 fascinating facts about Sonya Heitshusen:
• I interviewed Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson aboard their tour bus.
• I have a crush on Sean Connery
• I took a self defense class and used the “fake to the face, knee to the groin” move to fight off a would-be attacker in London.
• I have gone sky-diving.
• I have completed multiple marathons and triathlons.
• The worst job I ever had: Toss up between de-tasseling and being a maid.
• I was a wrestling cheerleader in high school.
• I can still do the splits.
• My most embarrassing moment on the air: Saying the entire name of female impersonator “Dixie Longate” repeatedly, without getting the joke until AFTER the news.
• I slept in a car with a photographer for four nights while covering hurricane Katrina.
• I have a voodoo doll on my desk.
• I was a biology and art major before earning a degree in journalism.
• Some of my favorite artists: Van Gogh, Munch, Pollock and De Kooning
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Sonya Heitshusen grew up in eastern Iowa, near the Amana Colonies. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado from 1985 to 1987; The University of London in London England in 1988; and Iowa State University from 1989 to 1992.

Sonya earned her Bachelors of Science in 1992, majoring in journalism with an emphasis in electronic media studies and a minor in speech.

Sonya is a recognized figure for her work in the Des Moines television media as well as for her work in the Des Moines community. She worked as a reporter and anchor for ABC affiliate WOI-TV from 1991 to 2001.

In 2001 she left to pursue a different career path unrelated to media. However, it was not long before she realized that journalism was a strong portion of her life and felt the urge to return. “There is nothing like the daily adrenaline rush you get from working in a newsroom.” Sonya said. Now she reports and anchors for Channel 13 News at 5.

Actively involved in the community, Sonya has participated in events with: Variety Club, Big Brothers – Big Sisters, Ankeny YMCA Board of Directors, The American Diabetes Association, the Governor’s Conference on Aging and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Sonya has won five Emmy’s and received two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. She has also received multiple awards from the Northwest Broadcast News Assoc., IBNA and Associated Press.

In her spare time, Sonya enjoys running and exercise in general. She has completed several marathons and triathlons. She also enjoys drawing, painting and literature.


Recent Articles
  • Development of DICO Site Still Uncertain Due to Sky-High Cleanup Costs

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Once a manufacturing hub, the former DICO Inc. property is now a waste land, bordered by Martin Luther King Parkway to the north and the Raccoon River to the south. It could be one of the highest valued properties in the city of Des Moines.  But few developers are willing to touch it because of what they know – and don’t know – about the contamination left behind by DICO.   For nearly 40 years, DICO […]

  • Kids Making Strides Towards Improved Health One Lap at a Time

    DES MOINES, Iowa  —  At a time when many Americans are just starting a workout routine, Kevin Kofoot Ramos is close to reaching a running milestone. “I think it’s 21 or 22 miles,” says Kevin. That’s how far he’s run since starting the Kidstriders program at Stowe Elementary School in Des Moines. Cindy Elsbernd, a member of the Des Moines School Board, started the program in 2005 in response to the increase in childhood obesity. “I chose running because I […]

  • West Des Moines Schools: No Nurse For Rylie

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Twelve-year-old Rylie Lewis misses her friends. “My friends actually texted me and said, ‘Where are you?  Are you sick?’  I’m like, no.  I can’t be there.'” Her parents won’t allow her to attend Stilwell Junior High in West Des Moines because the school won’t allow Rylie’s personal nurse to accompany her.  Rylie, born with Spina Bifida, uses a wheel chair and has a host of medical problems.  Her mother, Darcie Lewis, says she and her […]

  • Somber One Year Anniversary: ‘Tony and Justin will always be in our thoughts’

    November 2, 2017 marked the one year anniversary of the ambush and shooting deaths of Des Moines Police Sergeant, Tony Beminio and Urbandale Police Officer, Justin Martin. Channel 13’s Sonya Heitshusen takes a look back at the events that unfolded that day and talks to the Officers’ family, friends and departments about how they’re moving forward.    

  • Veterans Gain Physical and Emotional Strength at SISU Strength Academy

    Army Reserve Sergeant, Joy Clark is used to gunfire.  But she didn’t expect it while being processed for deployment at Fort Hood, Texas in 2009. “One of my soldiers pulled me out of my chair onto the ground and I landed on my right side.  So, I’m facing her she’s facing me and I’m looking in the direction of the shooter about 15-feet away.” As part of a combat stress control unit, specializing in battlefield behavioral health, Clark first thought […]

  • Iowa Home Care: “We’re at the breaking point”

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa  —  The CEO of Iowa Home Care, one of Iowa’s largest in-home health care providers says IHC is at the breaking point. “We’re in a lot of financial turmoil.” Thursday morning, Kim Weber told her employees she may not be able to pay them because Managed Care Providers, hired by the State when Governor Branstad privatized Medicaid, owe IHC nearly a million dollars. “We just don`t have the funds.   We’re maxed out at the bank […]

  • Living With Leukemia: New Perspectives And New Priorities

    It’s not uncommon for cancer patients to come down with an infection. “It’s just part of the routine,” says Jeanet Crowell. But being routine, doesn’t make it easier.  Grace Crowell, Jeanet Crowell’s daughter, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia March 1, 2017.  She made it through her first round of treatment and is in remission, but started feeling sick last week on the first day of fourth grade. “A year ago, when I was thinking about first day back to school […]

  • Iowa State Fair Rides Under Increased Scrutiny

    DES MOINES, Iowa  —  A deadly accident on the Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair last month highlights the dangers of some rides and the need for comprehensive inspections of amusement park and carnival rides. But Andrea Spencer, a patron at the Iowa State Fair isn’t too concerned. “Quite frankly we don’t necessarily come for the rides,” says Spencer.  “We come to compete.” Her son has a lot on the line in a baking competition.  He hopes his […]

  • Preparing for Ironman Kona: The Open Water Swim

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa  — Even the most experienced swimmer can encounter challenges in the open water. “Their biggest difficulty is their hesitation or fear of open water.  It’s what they have the least experience with,” says Zoom Performance owner and triathlon coach, Matt Zepeda.  “It’s also the unknown.  So, mentally it just gets to them more.” The water is typically dark and choppy.  There are no lanes or lines and the bottom is a place you don’t want to […]

  • Urban Bike Food Ministry: Handing Out Burritos and Hugs

    DES MOINES, Iowa  —  It’s not unusual to see cyclists on the roads and trails on a summer night in Des Moines.  But one group of riders is on a mission to feed people who might otherwise go to bed hungry. The night begins at Capitol Hill Lutheran Church.  There are no services inside.  Instead, you’ll find dozens of cyclists ready to serve others.  They begin in the church kitchen, making hundreds of burritos and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. […]

  • Triathlon Training: Drills and Skills

    CLIVE, Iowa  —  For many, the swim portion of the triathlon is the most daunting.  Some describe it as a “mosh pit” – a sea of people, all trying to get to the same place in the shortest amount of time. “You’re dealing with current, waves, sometime breaks and you’re dealing with people around you,” says Matt Zepeda, Zoom Performance founder and certified triathlon coach. So before you take the plunge in open water, you’ll want to spend some time […]

  • A Suit Of Armor To Fight Leukemia

    IOWA  —  Fashion is a form of art, and for some it’s their body armor. “We just wanted people to notice the outfit,” said Bailey Cupples. People noticed it, alright. “So, I wore hospital socks. I had a skirt made of infusion bags. My top was an ACE bandage and then my necklace and earrings were blood capsule things.” Bailey put the outfit together for a Trashion Show–a fashion show consisting of costumes made entirely of trash and recyclable materials. “It […]