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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

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
  • Brandon-Ellingson

    New Video Shows Officer Worried About Mistakes, Job Following Ellingson Drowning

    LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Missouri – New information about the Brandon Ellingson drowning at Lake of the Ozarks continues to trickle out of the Missouri Highway Patrol. Newly obtained video shows Trooper Anthony Piercy, the officer who arrested Ellingson for allegedly boating while intoxicated, relaying what happened to his supervisor. “He was being real nice and cooperative. It wasn`t like we were fighting or arguing. And he goes, ‘So am I going to jail?’ and I said, ‘well we`re just […]

  • Brandon-Ellingson

    Recording Contradicts Information Released on Ellingson Drowning

    LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Missouri — A recorded interview obtained by Channel 13 with a Missouri Highway Patrolman contradicts information originally released by authorities about the drowning of a Clive man. Brandon Ellingson drowned May 31 at Lake of the Ozarks, after being taken into custody by Trooper Anthony Piercy for alleged boating while intoxicated. Troopers Chris Harris and Eric Stacks interviewed Sgt. Randy Henry on June 19 about his conversations with Piercy and other officers shortly after the drowning. […]

  • Brandon-Ellingson

    ‘Inconsistent’ Statements Discovered in Ellingson Drowning

    DES MOINES, Iowa — We’re learning about more inconsistent statements made by Missouri state troopers following the drowning of a Clive man on the Lake of the Ozarks. Twenty-year-old Brandon Ellingson drowned while in the custody of Missouri state trooper Anthony Piercy. Piercy picked up Ellingson for alleged drunk boating on May 31st. The Kansas City Star reports Sgt. Randy Henry interviewed Piercy shortly after the drowning and in a document never before disclosed, Piercy told Henry he was “in a […]

  • workout

    Iowa State Exercise Study Seeking Participants

      AMES, Iowa — We all know that exercise is good for us, but what type is the best? Figuring out what to do and how often to do it can get confusing.  Iowa State kinesiology professor Dr. DC Lee hopes a new study will provide answers based on science. “We will have four groups and it’s 12 weeks of an exercise training study,” he explains. For Dr. Lee that’s nothing.  His last study – on running – lasted for […]

  • Brandon-Ellingson

    Brandon Ellingson’s Father Calls for More Investigation into Son’s Death

      DES MOINES, Iowa — A Clive father says a coroner’s inquest into his son’s death on the Lake of the Ozark’s was a “joke.” Twenty-year-old Brandon Ellingson drowned last May while in the custody of a Missouri State Trooper patrolling the water. After deliberating for about five minutes Thursday, the jury decided Ellingson’s death was an accident and the officer should not be held criminally responsible. But numerous questions remain about Ellingson’s death and the investigation itself. Trooper Anthony […]

  • Workout Of The Week: Posture Perfect

    Remember your mother telling you to sit up straight?  It was good advice. Poor posture can affect your body’s muscles and internal organs.  The good news:  There are some simple exercises you can do to improve your posture at any age.  Even better news:  Alan Bernard, personal trainer and founder of Active Aging Fitness says it doesn’t take a lot of effort. “If you can, stand up and actually hold your body erect and throw your arms back… and that’s going […]

  • triathlon

    Rain Forces Changes to Hy-Vee Triathlon Course

    DES MOINES, Iowa – The recent heavy rain means big changes for the Hy-Vee Triathlon. Race organizers just announced the age group and 5150 Championship races will be reduced to a “sprint triathlon” which is just half the distance participants planned to race. The start time for those races has also been changed to 8:30 a.m. For the 5150 Elite race, athletes will start as scheduled and they’ll race the full, Olympic distance as planned, but race organizers have changed the […]

  • Pilates, Yoga Have Benefits for Triathletes

    URBANDALE, Iowa — At Spark Barre, Pilates and Yoga in Urbandale you’ll find those types of exercise with a twist. “When I teach the class to athletes the goal is a little different and the style of teaching is a little different,” says owner Pauline Tan. She knows how to motivate athletes, because she is one. She understands that most hard-charging triathletes don’t want to take time away from swimming, biking and running. “The way I explain it is, we’re […]

  • workforce_development

    Unemployment Overpayments: Confidential Email ‘Cannot be Disseminated’

    DES MOINES, Iowa — The Legislative Oversight Committee, which began investigating the Department of Administrative Services last spring, will turn its attention to Iowa Workforce Development next week. Lawmakers want to question IWD Director, Teresa Wahlert, about allegations she tried to influence Administrative Law Judges.  At least two former judges claim Wahlert pressured them to side with employers in unemployment appeals cases.  The Oversight Committee also has questions about what IWD calls a computer “glitch” that resulted in the overpayments of unemployment benefits to 85 people.  The total overpayments, according to IWD was […]

  • 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 […]

  • IMG_4592

    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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