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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
  • 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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    Urban Horizons: Where’s the Money Going?

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Urbandale Police continue to investigate a Des Moines non-profit called Urban Horizons, which claims to be dedicated to “youth development.” We visited Urban Horizons’ Des Moines office, which is actually a dilapidated home on 14th Place.  We knocked on the door, but no one answered. In April, the President of Urban Horizons, Robert McGregor Sr., received a Peddler’s Permit from the City of Urbandale.  Urbandale Police have since suspended the permit.  Investigators have questions about how the organization is using […]

  • Workout of the Week: Fitbit Phenom

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Most of us are happy if we hit 10-thousand steps a day. Not for Scott Willey, that`s a walk in the park for him. Scott started walking three years ago. “Every morning, 6:15 I’m out the door.” Back then, he averaged about five miles a day.  Now, he walks about ten times that amount. “I get more miles on my Nike’s than I do my car.” Why does he pound the pavement to this extreme? “I […]

  • Workout of the Week: Preventing Falls

    Falls are the leading cause of injury death in the United States and one in three Americans will suffer one this year.  They can also cause moderate to severe injuries, like head trauma and hip fractures.  Fortunately, falls can be prevented. Personal trainer, Alan Bernard, founder of Active Aging Fitness says being in good shape can prevent a fall or limit the injury if you do take a tumble.  He recommends strength, stability and mobility exercises. “Because they’re all involved in […]

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    Governor’s Office Denies Claim their Attorney Knew of Secret Settlements

    DES MOINES, Iowa – The governor’s office is denying Governor Branstad’s attorney, Brenna Findley, knew anything about compensation for confidential settlement agreements prior to March. The comments come after the former attorney for the Department Of Administrative Services said otherwise. “Brenna Findley was not aware the confidentiality provisions were being used within personnel settlements until after the March 16th report that began this,” the governor’s spokesperson Jimmy Centers said. Ryan Lamb testified before the legislative oversight committee Wednesday. The former […]

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    Teacher Facing Charges for Alleged Assault on Special Education Student

    DES MOINES, Iowa — A Hubbell Elementary School teacher is on paid administrative leave following accusations she assaulted a special education student. Anita Babe is a 5th grade teacher for the Des Moines Public School District. She’s charged with two counts of assault causing bodily injury or mental illness. According to police reports, Babe assaulted the student while at school on two occasions — April 10th and April 15th. The report also says Babe grabbed the student by the arms […]

  • Super Slow Strength Training

    Want to mix up your routine and challenge your muscles?  If so, this workout is for you. “A slow motion workout is a great way to bust through a plateau, because it’s a great way to challenge the body,” said personal trainer, Angie Gallagher. We begin with a front raise, isolating the shoulders.  The super slow method isolates the muscle and creates maximum tension, which leads to maximum gains. “It takes out your momentum,” explains Gallagher.  “So, it makes it […]

  • Exercise: ‘Food for Your Brain’

    DES MOINES, Iowa – We all know exercising builds a better body.  Now, there’s evidence it builds a better mind too. “If you rest, you rust,” explained Alan Bernard, personal trainer and founder of Active Aging Fitness. Studies show aerobic fitness reduces brain cell loss in the elderly.  It can also protect against diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol – all risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. “What’s good for the heart is good for the head,” Bernard said.  […]

  • DAS Veterans Home Bidding Process Questioned

    DES MOINES, Iowa – The Legislative Oversight Committee will reconvene Monday. The topic of discussion will be the construction contract for the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown. Department of Administrative Services officials have been regular guests in front of the Oversight Committee this year. This time, legislators want to know if some at the DAS rigged the bidding process. “The construction community in the Des Moines area is fairly tightly knit,” DAS spokesperson Caleb Hunter said to explain the relationship […]

  • WEEKLY WORKOUT: Precision Skills & Power Drills

    Precision Skills and Power Drills is an Irene McCormick signature program, designed to fine-tune your body’s abilities. “Here’s the thing about sport-specific skills,” Irene explains, “they’re applicable no matter how old you are, or where you are in your life fitness-wise.” You can use all sorts of props, from cones and medicine balls to floor dots and the Plyo-Fit trampoline. The key is do the movements perfectly, every time. “You need to know exactly what you need to do and […]


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