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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
  • Running Study: Less May Be More

    AMES, Iowa — Running is one of the most convenient forms of exercise, which is one reason Iowa State University Kinesiology professor, DC Lee, Ph.D. chose it for this study. “We looked at the association between running distance, running frequency and running speed with mortality risk.” More than 55,000 people participated, making it the largest study of its kind.  There are three major findings.  First, you don’t have to run hours on end to reap big cardiovascular benefits. “We found that […]

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    Administrator of ‘People of Iowa State Fair’ Facebook Page Responds

    DES MOINES, Iowa — We told you about the Facebook page, “People of the Iowa State Fair” Tuesday.  The page contains random pictures of people at the Iowa State Fair.  Some of the pictures are innocuous – people riding the sky glider or posing with the State Fair Queen.  Others have been described as hurtful, distasteful and a form of cyber-bullying. The Iowa State Fair is not affiliated with the page and has asked Facebook to take it down.  However, […]

  • Iowa State Fairgoers Are Fair Game on Facebook

    DES MOINES, Iowa – The Facebook page is called “The People Of The Iowa State Fair,” but the Iowa State Fair itself wants nothing to do with it. “We don’t have any affiliation with it,” said Lori Chappell, the spokesperson for the Iowa State Fair. The Facebook page allows people to post pictures taken at the fair.  Some pictures depict fun, fair activities, like riding the sky glider.  Others mock fairgoers for their attire, their weight or their assumed sexual orientation.  Almost any picture, or […]

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    New Angle on a Trampoline Workout

    We call her “Mean Irene” but personal trainer Irene McCormick is also the queen of introducing us to new equipment, like the PlyoFit Trampoline. “It takes the trampoline that would normally be flat and lifts it up and puts it on an angle,” Irene explains. The first move gets us comfortable, we simply sit down and stand up.  Irene tells us why the modified trampoline makes a difference. “For performance enhancement it’s amazing because it’s more functional. Because of the […]

  • Accessibility Concerns at the Iowa State Fair Campgrounds

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Sharis Claver has been camping at the Iowa State Fair her entire life. It`s a tradition she`d like to pass down to her children. But that might not be possible. Nothing comes easy for Carter Claver.  He was born with a rare metabolic disorder, which lead to a stroke when he was 15-months-old.  Carter has no control of his muscles.  He can’t walk or talk, but cognitively he’s like any other 8-year-old. “He’s smart as a tack,” says […]

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    Headphones That Guide You Through Your Workout

    We asked fitness expert Irene McCormick to test the FX-Sport programmable headphones and give us her review. “Once you charge it, you interface it with your computer and then there’s a ton of workouts,” she explains, “then it takes you through a voice-guided workout.” The library is huge, with everything from strength training and running to specific sports like swimming and tennis.  We asked Irene to lay out the pros and cons. Here is her summary: PROS: The music library […]

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    Body Donors: The Silent Professors

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Wendell Mohr loved to paint and he loved to teach others how to paint.  But his final brush strokes fell on the canvas in 2008. “Our lives are changed when someone we love is no longer physically present,” said his widow, Julie Powell-Mohr. Her life changed when Wendell died in her arms from cancer. “To be with someone when their spirit leaves, their breath leaves their body, it felt like he’d given it away.  He’d given it […]

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    Assault Charges Dropped: Mom Wants Answers

    DES MOINES, Iowa — The Polk County Attorney’s Office dismissed charges today against a Hubbell Elementary School teacher.  Anita Babe was accused of assaulting a 12-year-old special needs student on two occasions last April. The mother of that student, Kristi Langford claims Babe left 4-inch bruises on her son’s arms. “Anita Babe has been pulling Dakota out of chairs yanking him into chairs, yanking him out, sometimes grabbing him by the neck and escorting him down the hallway.” An investigation […]

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    Teacher Accused of Assaulting Disabled Student Won’t Stand Trial

    DES MOINES, Iowa – A Des Moines teacher accused of assaulting an intellectually disabled student on two occasions will not stand trial. Prosecutors dismissed charges against Anita Babe Friday morning.  Babe, a teacher at Hubbell Elementary, was accused of grabbing a 12-year-old hard enough to leave bruises on his arm for 13-days. The boy’s mother said prosecutors told her that Des Moines Police “did not investigate it properly”. “It’s so confusing to me.  It’s so hard to understand why this happens and […]

  • Workout of the Week: Stroll Fit

    DES MOINES, Iowa — These moms fine-tune their strollers like any athlete cares for their equipment. “Before I was a mom, I was a teacher and a fitness instructor,” says Sara Albright. Then, her son Elliot came along and everything changed. “I went to work all day and didn’t want to go to the gym and leave my child.  I wanted to hang out with him, but I still had that need,” says Albright, referring to her need for exercise. She filled […]

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    Workout of the Week: Polo

    DES MOINES, Iowa — David Sommers has been around horses his entire life but he didn’t start playing polo until 1988. “I had no idea there was anything like this in Des Moines at that time, and I bought a horse three weeks later without a place to keep it,” he says with a laugh. Now he’s the president of the Des Moines Polo Club – trying to de-bunk a lot of the myths about the sport. First and foremost […]

  • Urban Horizons Update: ‘Fraud Against Children’

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Last week, we told you about Urban Horizons, a Des Moines charity going door-to-door, soliciting donations.  Urbandale Police suspended the organization’s Peddling Permit, saying they had questions about how the money was being used and how Urban Horizons was representing itself. We now know Urban Horizons affiliated itself with Youth Emergency Services and Shelter, a decades old center for abused children. “Apparently they’d said they were out raising money on our behalf, which obviously wasn’t true,” said […]

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