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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, including three full Ironman races.
• 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 multiple regional Emmy and 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, including three, full Ironman races. She also enjoys drawing, painting and literature.

Recent Articles
  • An Investor’s Nightmare — Part 2

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Cap Hermann met John Krohn back in 2016. “I was introduced to John Krohn through a friend of mine.” At the time, Krohn was a broker for Principal Securities, a subsidiary for Principal Financial Group. “He was one of the top sales people for Principal,” says Hermann. He says that influenced his decision to invest $50,000 in one of Krohn’s ventures, Spotlight Innovation. “I said, ‘This guy is top-notch.  He’s in the Principal hall of […]

  • An Investor’s Nightmare

    IOWA — John Krohn drives a Mercedes Maybach, valued at nearly $200,000, and lives in one of the highest dollar homes in Polk County.  Records from the assessor’s office show he’s buying the exclusive Glen Oaks property under contract for more than $4.7 million. Cap Hermann believes Krohn should be living behind bars. “Yeah, I’d like to see him do some time,” says Hermann. In 2016, Hermann invested in a company called Spotlight Innovation, a pharmaceutical holding company marketing a […]

  • Jason Carter Files Civil Lawsuit Against Investigators, Father

    MARION COUNTY, Iowa — The Carter vs. Carter case has moved into a new phase now that Jason Carter has filed a lawsuit of his own. Two years ago Jason was found civilly responsible for the 2015 shooting death of his mother Shirley Carter and ordered to pay a $10 million judgment. But in March of this year, a jury found him not guilty of first-degree murder. “That was one of the happiest days and we are so thankful,” Jason’s […]

  • DOJ Investigation Looking Into ‘Sexual Arousal’ Experiments on Glenwood Resource Center Residents

    GLENWOOD, Iowa  —  The Glenwood and Woodward Resource Centers serve more than 300 intellectually and physically disabled people, including children.  The Department of Justice wants to know if the residents are receiving adequate care or being harmed. Governor Reynolds says the State is cooperating with the investigation and acknowledges mistakes have been made. “It is not acceptable, it is not adequate and we are making changes,” said Reynolds. The DOJ sent a letter to the Governor on November 21st.  It […]

  • DHS Confirms DOJ Investigating ‘Sexual Arousal’ Studies on Glenwood Resource Center Residents

    DES MOINES, Iowa — WHO-TV has confirmed the Department of Justice is looking into “harmful and uncontrolled human subject experiments”  and the investigation related to those experiments is focused on “optimal hydration” and “sexual arousal” studies, according to the Department of Human Services. Last month, the DOJ notified DHS and Governor Kim Reynolds that it planned to conduct an investigation into the treatment of patients at the Glenwood and Woodward Resource Centers.  The centers serve individuals with severe intellectual and […]

  • Channel 13 Investigation Into RAGBRAI’s Charitable Contribution Claims

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Each year at least 10,000 cyclists sign up for the ride and it generates about $3 million in economic impact for the state. RAGBRAI also collects nearly $2 million on passes alone, with a week costing $175 and a day pass $30. Add on sponsorships and merchandise sales and the profits go up even more. According to the 2018 RAGBRAI handbook, after all the expenses are met, the Des Moines Register contributes the profits derived from […]

  • Channel 13’s Sonya Heitshusen Part of MDA Iowa ‘Muscle Team’

    DES MOINES, Iowa — The Muscular Dystrophy Association of Iowa is holding its annual gala on November 7 at Des Moines’ Embassy Suites. Channel 13’s Sonya Heitshusen will be part of MDA’s “Muscle Team,” made up of athletes and MDA ambassadors like 7-year-old Ben Schwartz.  He was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy April 18, 2016. DMD is a rare genetic disorder that affects about one in 5,000 boys.  It causes the muscles to become weak and damaged over time, eventually […]

  • Victim of Horrific Des Moines Skywalk Beating Speaks Out, Calls for Security Changes

    DES MOINES, Iowa — A group of about two dozen teens attacked Devin Radcliff in the downtown Des Moines Skywalk on October 12th.  Radcliff suffered multiple bruises, scratches, and a severe concussion. He feels if it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.  Radcliff spoke exclusively to Channel 13’s Sonya Heitshusen about what happened and what he would like to see change.

  • Team Run Free: Delivering Smiles For Miles

    DES MOINES, Iowa  —  13-year-old Amara Dunham has Cerebral Palsy.  But she’s transformed every time she’s transferred from her wheelchair to the jog stroller. She decided she wanted to “run” after watching a 20k race roll through downtown Des Moines.  Her mother, Julie Dunham, wasn’t sure how she was going to make that happen. “And then Team Run Free shows up and it’s been amazing.” Kevin Hircock is the founder of Team Run Free, an organization that pairs able-bodied runners, […]

  • New Housing, Retail Project Planned for Des Moines’ Market District Area

    DES MOINES, Iowa — The City of Des Moines unveiled some big plans Tuesday for an area known as the Market District. The Market District is 260 acres and located south of the East Village. It is bordered by the Des Moines River, East Walnut Street, East Martin Luther King Parkway and East 14th Street. The plan includes apartments, condominiums, office and retail space and two parks. The city has some progressive, cutting-edge ideas for the area, but there are […]

  • Governor Reynolds Paying Staff with Money from Other Agencies; Staff Says It’s Nothing New

    DES MOINES, Iowa  —  The forced resignation of the former Iowa Department of Human Services Director is shedding new light how Governor Kim Reynolds and her predecessors have paid their staff. Jerry Foxhoven resigned from office last month after Governor Reynolds asked him to step down.  The Governor has said she made the request because she wanted to take the DHS in a different direction. Foxhoven, though, tells the Des Moines Register, that Reynolds asked him to do something illegal: […]

  • Emails and Complaints Show Long History of Problems with Bus Driver Responsible for Fatal Fire

    IOWA  —  Channel 13 has obtained emails and sworn statements from people who complained about Riverside Community School District bus driver, Donnie Hendricks prior to an accident that killed Hendricks and his lone passenger, 16-year-old Megan Klindt. “A lot of people knew this guy was in tough shape and had concern that he shouldn’t be driving the bus,” says Brad Schroeder, the attorney for Natalie and Glen Klindt. Schroeder says at least a dozen people complained about Hendricks’ driving. An […]

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