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
  • Workout Of The Week: Girls On The Run

    DES MOINES, Iowa — The program is called Girls On The Run.  But before the girls lace up their running shoes, they put on their thinking caps during what’s called “Circle Time.”  It’s a time for girls to talk about their feelings and develop skills that will help them navigate life as a young woman. “We always start our time with, ‘How’s it going at home?  How’s it going with family and friends?  What’s going on at school?’,” says Kaitlin […]

  • Workout of the Week: P.H.A. Training

    Personal trainer Angie Gallagher is introducing us to a workout we’ve never heard of before. It’s called “peripheral heart action training”. “So you’re doing an upper body move, then a lower body move, back and forth with very little rest in between,” Angie explains. Though it’s new to us, PHA training was first written about as early as the 1940s. “It’s been around for a while but it’s gaining in popularity as people are learning more and more that variety […]

  • Workout of the Week: The Hepker Challenge One-Year Anniversary

    DES MOINES, Iowa — A year ago, Aaron Hepker, WHO-TV’s Digital Director, thought he might be better off dead. “Life isn’t enjoyable. It feels like I can’t do the things I want to,” he told us at the time. “I just hate existing like this.” He weighed close to 600 pounds. It took a trip to Colorado and passing out on Pike’s Peak, to make him realize he needed to do something, or he might not live to see 40. […]

  • Sheriff’s Organization: Warren County Jail Violating the Law

    WARREN COUNTY, Iowa — Mold, sewer problems, exposed wires — those are just a few of the problems at the Warren County Courthouse. Kathy George, a legal assistant in the County Attorney’s Office, says the building is making her sick. “We’re sick,” she said. “We’re all sick and it’s not going to get better until we’re not working here.” The sewer smell got so bad last week, some county employees were told to stay home. But the inmates housed in […]

  • Warren County Courthouse Employee: ‘We’re sick, we’re all sick’

    WARREN COUNTY, Iowa — Kathy George has lost her voice — found it. “We’re sick, we’re all sick,” George said. She says she’s sick and tired of battling chronic laryngitis and respiratory problems caused by what her doctor says is mold exposure at the Warren County Courthouse where she works as a legal assistant. “I’m one of three that has been diagnosed with mold exposure, suffering from mold exposure in the county attorney’s office.” George started having problems when her work […]

  • Part of Ellingson Lawsuit Against Missouri State Troopers Dismissed

    A Missouri judge has dismissed a portion of a lawsuit filed against the Missouri Highway Patrol and several of its troopers following the drowning of a Clive man at the Lake of the Ozarks. Brandon Ellingson, 20, drowned in May of 2014. He was handcuffed and in police custody when he fell off a Missouri Highway Patrol boat operated by Trooper Anthony Piercy. The Ellingson family has filed a wrongful death suit. In part, it claims the defendants conspired to […]

  • A Breakdown of Prairie Meadows’ $60M Burden to the IRS

    $60.4 million dollars — that’s how much the Internal Revenue Service says Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino Owes in penalties and taxes dating back to 2012. The Prairie Meadows Board of Directors voted Wednesday afternoon to release the results of the 300+ page audit, which began in 2014. Channel 13’s Sonya Heitshusen breaks down the audit: The first issue raised by the IRS is PMRC’s non-profit status. The audit shows Prairie Meadows took in $6.6 billion in revenue between 2012 […]

  • Hepker Challenge: Phase Two Means Bigger Goals and Harder Workouts

    Aaron Hepker is entering another phase of his weight loss journey.  The last time we checked in on him, he’d lost a hundred pounds and completed his first five kilometer race. He’s struggled a bit since then but refuses to give up. “I want this more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life and I’m going to throw everything I can at it.” His goals are getting bigger.  So, his workouts are getting harder.  It was leg day on […]

  • Workout of the Week: Tracking Effectiveness of Activity Trackers

    Fuel Band, Fitbit, Misfit – it seems just about everyone has an activity tracker these days. Some people have two or three. The activity trackers record everything from your daily steps to your calorie burn.  But the question is: How accurate are they? Some Iowa State University researchers have the answer. 56 people participated in a study to determine the accuracy of four consumer fitness trackers and two research models. “The key difference in this study is that we’ve now […]

  • Attorney Caught on Tape Raises Ethical Questions

    Remember that shake-up at Iowa Workforce Development a couple of years ago?  The director at the time, Teresa Wahlert, handed down new mandates to the Administrative Law Judges, some of whom quit and others were fired. One of the terminated judges, Susan Ackerman, appealed the decision. A hearing was held, but the arbitrator, John Sandy, an attorney in Spirit Lake, ruled in favor of the state, saying it had “just cause and proper cause do (sic) terminate” Ackerman. But something […]

  • Waukee School Official Details Plans for Second High School

    Waukee is the fastest growing city in the fastest growing county in the state. The Waukee School Board approved plans for a new high school and named a new leader for the district to oversee those plans. Cindi McDonald is the soon-to-be superintendent of Waukee schools. She sat down with Channel 13’s Sonya Heitshusen to talk about those new plans.

  • 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 […]