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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
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    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

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    Body Donors: The Silent Professors

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    Assault Charges Dropped: Mom Wants Answers

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  • mug_babe_anita

    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

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    Workout of the Week: Polo

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  • 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 […]

  • jimmy centers

    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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