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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
  • 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 […]

  • WEEKLY WORKOUT: Flat Abs With Planks

    The world record for holding a plank is 3:07:15. That`s a long time. You can get the abs you want in 10-minutes with this killer plank series. “It seems benign, but it`s incredibly affective for the core and tough to do,” personal trainer Angie Gallagher explained. Planks have replaced crunches – and for good reason. “It`s activating more muscles than a crunch would because you`re getting front, side and back, which most people neglect the back part,” Angie added. This […]

  • WEEKLY WORKOUT: Laser Tag On Steroids

    You’ve heard of laser tag.  Well this is laser tag on steroids – and you’ll work up a sweat playing it. CMP Tactical Laser wants the experience to be as realistic as possible.  So, the company uses simulated weaponry made of aircraft grade aluminum and the games are objective based. “So you’re diffusing a bomb, you’re playing with domination cubes,” said CMP co-owner, Aaron Coy. One of the games is called “King Of The Hill.”  Our gaming master, Nick Markey explained how it’s […]

  • SECRET SETTLEMENTS: Colleges Paid Over $1M

    More confidential settlements have been released for members of the Senate Oversight Committee to look into. The Board of Regents released 400-pages of settlements agreed to by fired or retiring employees, Wednesday. Dozens of people who worked for the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University have received settlements, some of them confidential, since 2011. The payouts range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. In one instance, the University of Iowa […]

  • WEEKLY WORKOUT: The CrossFit Family

    CrossFit 515 in Grimes is all in the family – the Noyce family. What started out in their garage is now a booming business. The Noyce family caught the CrossFit bug about four years ago, when a college buddy introduced Bobby Noyce to the fitness phenomenon.  He started Crossfit 515 in the family’s garage and moved into a gym in Grimes about nine months later. “I basically fell in love with it right away.” Bobby passed the passion on to his big sister, […]

  • EMPLOYMENT STATUS: DAS Letter ‘Intimidating’

    Some state employees who received a letter reclassifying their employment status from merit to non-merit may have some recourse. “It was clear, as you can see from the document, they were trying to downgrade me, get rid of me.” The document originally drafted by the Department of Administrative Services informed state employees that their positions would now be excluded from merit-system provisions. Read the original DAS letter This former Department of Aging employee, who we`ll call Chris, received the letter […]

  • EXCLUSIVE: Baby Gabriel’s Mom Speaks Out

    All three of the women who call themselves Gabriel McFarland’s mom are speaking out. The four-month-old boy died Tuesday after his mother found him alone in her apartment. Watch the adoptive parents’ response Gabriel McFarland’s room is a sad place now. His crib is empty and his toys and clothes are already packed up in a box. “It’s like every time I come home it’s just really sad.” Gabriel’s mother Markeya Atkins found him unresponsive when she returned home Tuesday […]

  • WEEKLY WORKOUT: Contrast Training

    Personal trainer Angie Gallagher always has new tricks up her sleeve.  She calls this workout “cardio legs,” because it blasts the legs while pumping up your heart rate. The technical terms is contrast training.  It combines different types of resistance training in one workout. “You take a really heavy exercise, like dumbbell squats and do one set to about failure,” explained Gallahger.  “You follow that immediately with a plyometric or explosive power move.” For instance, squats with weights are followed immediately […]

  • gun to head

    HIRING ALLEGATIONS: ‘I Had A Gun To My Head’

    “I felt there was a gun to my head.  Do this or you’re going to have big consequences.” That’s what the Chairman of the Public Employee Relations Board told the Legislative Oversight Committee Thursday.  The Committee’s investigation into secret settlements to dismissed state workers is branching out, to include hiring and firing practices in Governor Branstad’s administration. Jim Riordan said Governor Branstad’s former Chief of Staff, Jeff Boeyink told him who to hire for a position created in 2012.  Boeyink allegedly told Riordan to hire Bob Wilson as […]

  • wahlert walsh

    IWD INVESTIGATION: Feds Interview Judges

    Investigators for the US Department of Labor are now interviewing Administrative Law Judges in Iowa Workforce Development’s Unemployment Insurance Bureau.  The questions surround allegations that IWD Director, Teresa Wahlert pressured judges to rule against employees appealing their unemployment benefits. Former Chief Administrative Law Judge, Joe Walsh made the same claim in a lawsuit filed against Wahlert and IWD on April 3.  The suit alleges Walsh was let go after criticizing Wahlert’s attempt to influence the judge’s rulings. Wahlert addressed the lawsuit in a statement the same day, even […]

  • das loans

    FEDERAL FUNDS: DAS’ Makes Loan To Itself

    Secret settlement agreements made to former state workers may not be the only problem at the Iowa Department of Administrative Services.  Emails obtained through an open records request indicate DAS may have misused federal funds. An October, 2013 email from Rita Grimm with the Iowa Economic Eevelopment Authority indicates former DAS Director, Mike Carroll “abruptly” left a meeting, at which IDEA was trying to “resolve very significant issues raised regarding the DAS Energy Loan Program. Read the emails Another document […]


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