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
________________________________________

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
  • promo287182903

    Workout of the Week: Improving Your Golf Game Off the Links

    Before you buy new golf clubs to improve your drive or straighten your iron shots, you may want to invest in a fitness assessment.  Knowing how your body moves – or doesn’t move – can dramatically improve your game. “The assessment is important because we need to know how people move,” explains Kyle Smith, a personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness in Urbandale. Smith likes to begin his assessment with the overhead squat. “It’s the tell all as far as the body […]

  • promo286839976

    May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

    According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 21 percent of all jail prisoners have a recent history of a mental health condition. Nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States have experienced mental illness in the last year. But despite those statistics, many people with mental illness suffer in silence. That is due in large part to the stigma that surrounds mental health disorders. Melissa Gentry, a physician assistant with Mahaska Health Partnership stopped by the Channel 13 […]

  • promo286667661

    15 Iowa Dog Breeders Among Worst 100 Nationwide

    A national animal welfare group is once again recognizing Iowa with the dubious distinction of being a haven for puppy mills. The Humane Society of the United States has recognized more than a dozen Iowa dog breeders as among the 100 worst puppy mills in the country. The HSUSA named 15 Iowa breeding facilities as puppy mills and identified violations such as filthy conditions, animals covered in urine and feces, no protection from extreme cold and severely injured dogs with […]

  • promo286494304

    Meet One Iowa Family Fighting for Cannabis Oil Law Reform

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — A West Des Moines family is leading the charge to reform Iowa’s cannabis oil law. They say their daughter is just one example of the benefits of cannabis oil, But Steve and Sally Gaer are forced to break the law in order to get it. Medical cannabis oil was legalized in Iowa in 2014 for the treatment of specific types of epilepsy. The law did not allow for the manufacturing or distribution of the oil. […]

  • promo286063543

    Water Works CEO Talks Lawsuit and ‘Gutter Politics’

    The Iowa House passed a measure Tuesday calling for the restructuring of the Des Moines Water Works Board of Trustees. Proponents say the move would lead to better representation of the communities Water Works serves. Opponents say it’s in retaliation for a lawsuit filed by Water Works against three counties that Water Works says are to blame for high nitrate levels in the Raccoon River. Bill Stowe, CEO of Des Moines Water Works, calls the move “gutter politics.” Watch the […]

  • promo285976789

    Hepker Challenge: Bucket List 5K, Check!

    Aaron Hepker can check another item off his “bucket list.”  He recently completed his first 5K. “I’m still kind of taking it in,” said Hepker after finishing the race. “It’s like holy crap – I did this!” It’s been about eight months since Hepker decided to lose weight.  Since then, he’s shed more than a hundred pounds.  Like finishing a race, it started by taking the first step.  It’s especially impressive, considering Hepker couldn’t walk around the block last fall. […]

  • Hepker and Chandler

    Lessons Learned from Hepker Challenge: ‘It’s never too late to change your life’

    DES MOINES, Iowa – Seven months ago, Channel 13’s Aaron Hepker told us life wasn’t enjoyable at his current weight.  Now, he’s lost 100 pounds and is learning that he can do more than he ever imagined. He credits his trainer, Terri Good of Infinity Training Center with teaching him about diet and exercise.  But he’s also learned it helps to surround yourself with people who support your weight loss goals.  Reid Chandler, a reporter here at Channel 13, is one of […]

  • promo283645472

    Prairie Meadows’ Tax Exempt Status at Risk

    ALTOONA, Iowa – Channel 13 has learned Prairie Meadows’ tax exempt status is in jeopardy. Tom Flynn, the attorney for Prairie Meadows, said that the Internal Revenue Service has advised the casino and racetrack that it is looking into its tax exempt status which allows the company to donate millions of dollars to Polk County and Polk County charities. Currently the IRS is auditing the casino dating back to its 2012 tax returns. If the tax exempt status is revoked Flynn says Prairie Meadows might have […]

  • ut_hkthath4eww8x4xmdoxojbro-i4w85

    American Airlines, Urine Trouble

    JOHNSTON, Iowa — Mike Feinberg wants to start a new campaign.  He wants to call it the “check your seat” campaign. As a sales representative for a medical supplies company, Feinberg flies a lot.  He’s experienced flight delays, long waits on the tarmac and bad customer service.  But he’d never experienced anything like what he encountered on an American Airlines’ flight on Jan. 12, 2016. He was returning to Des Moines from St. Louis when he started to feel uncomfortable.  He asked himself, […]

  • promo279932527

    Hepker Challenge: Aaron Hepker Gets a Cooking Lesson

    Sticking to a diet and exercise program isn’t just about determination and willpower. Planning and preparation are also important elements. Aaron Hepker can attest to that.  Since starting his weight loss journey six months ago, he’s learned how to use a crock pot and shop the produce aisle at the grocery store like a pro. Terri Good, owner of Infinity Training Center, is all about making as many healthy meals as possible in a limited amount of time. “We’re gonna have […]

  • promo279520240

    Dying Behind Bars

    CORALVILLE, Iowa — A cold winter sun tries to press through the clouds over the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville, while the wires and fence contain the people inside. One of them, George Menter, has been here more than half his life.  When he was younger, Menter drove the fastest stock cars and broke the wildest horses. “I was 18 when I started riding racehorses,” he said. These days, his body is frail and his hands are unsteady. David […]

  • promo279328066

    Workout of the Week: The Nordic Track Makes A Comeback

    Remember the Nordic Track skier?  If you’ve got one, it’s probably tucked away in your basement or in the laundry room, doubling as a drying rack for your clothes. “It’s a yesteryear thing,” said Dean Ponder, personal trainer and owner of Xpressive Fitness in Urbandale. Ponder once worked at a Nordic Track store, selling the machines that simulate cross-country skiing.  They peaked in popularity in the early 90s. “You saw ads in every magazine, maybe two or three ads in the same […]