KPTV news anchor Kimberly Maus balances life on TV, North Plains
Five mornings a week, Kim Maus rises at 2:30 a.m. — hours before her next-door neighbor's rooster starts crowing.
The Fox 12 Oregon TV personality, who co-anchors the local affiliate's "Good Day Oregon" news show Monday through Friday, showers and selects an on-air-appropriate outfit while her husband, Matt Weishoff, makes her coffee in their rural North Plains kitchen.
At first glance, they seem an unlikely pair — Weishoff is "a man of few words," Maus observes, while she talks for a living — but upon closer inspection, their deep, loving connection is obvious in a yin-yang sort of way. She often finishes his sentences, and vice-versa.
"Matty sends me off to work with my snacks so I have something to eat during breaks," says Kim, throwing an affectionate glance his way. The cowboy-turned-contractor blushes and smiles. "He walks me out to the car every morning and drives me in to the studio when it's icy. He's just the best."
Maus, 51, a petite blond dynamo, grew up in Palm Springs, Calif., in the 1960s and '70s, watching powerhouse anchor Connie Chung deliver the news on her family's living room TV set.
"I was going to be her when I grew up," she says.
Her mother worked in a plastic surgeon's office and her father designed TV and film sets. A middle child sandwiched between two brothers, Maus graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in 1989.
Weishoff, 54, is a Sacramento area native who moved to St. Paul, Ore., in 1982 when his high school wrestling coach offered him a job as a hop broker. "I came up here for the summer and never left," he says. He rode bulls in the annual St. Paul Rodeo and competed as a bareback rider on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit for 20 years.
He still serves as the livestock contractor on the St. Paul Rodeo's board of directors.
The couple married in 2011 after Weishoff proposed with a costume-jewelry ring he bought at an art tent at the rodeo. They share an affinity for fresh air, animals, travel and all things vintage-western, a theme they used in their wedding and are extending to a remodel of the 85-year-old, 600-square-foot house they purchased in western Washington County through an ad on Craigslist.
A half-bath inside the addition features Lone Ranger wallpaper, and a cast iron baby bathtub will serve as the sink inside the laundry room. "I found the wallpaper on Etsy," Maus says. "I just love a bargain, and everything has to have a story."
An architect drew up the plans for the remodel, but Weishoff is doing the bulk of the building — with Maus swinging a hammer when necessary. "It's a work in progress," says Weishoff.
The home will be 1,200 square feet when it's done, "plus the barn and the pens for our animals," notes Maus, ticking off the members of their four-legged crew: two dogs, Rodeo and Meg; two horses, a Palomino Arabian named Peso and a Paint Mustang called Maverick; five goats named Mavis, Madge Walter, Sweet Pea and Fred; a mule, Jolly; and a donkey named Daisy — a dozen pets they pamper every afternoon between trips to antique stores to find just-right items for their evolving home.
For Maus, whose childhood home sheltered a guinea pig, a tortoise and 13 parrots, maintaining a menagerie isn't a stretch. "We originally got the goats for brush clearing, but we both clearly love animals," she observed.
It's a dirty, dusty — and during Oregon's rainy season, muddy — lifestyle for someone who spends her mornings on television, but one Maus and Weishoff wouldn't change for the world.
"I love our nice little blue collar town," says Maus. "And I find therapy in walking around up here — it's so peaceful."
Weishoff is glad he convinced his bride to make the move from Beaverton to North Plains, a small town north of Hillsboro home to only 2,128 souls. They keep knee-high rubber boots at the ready for mucking out stalls or chasing the occasional errant goat into the woods.
"For Kim it was a lot like moving to Mars," he says with a chuckle. "She's a city girl."
"Yeah, he said something about coyotes and that was a little much," Maus shoots back with a good-natured grin. "So far, I haven't seen any."
From radio to television
Maus' first broadcast job was a nine-month stint on the radio in Palm Springs, but she soon made the jump to television, anchoring the late-night news for five years at KSBY in San Luis Obispo before joining Fox 12 Oregon in 1998.
Her life on the set at KPTV's studios in Beaverton, Maus says, perfectly complements her free time on the couple's 4-acre property above Pumpkin Ridge, her refuge from the intensity and demands of her day job.
In April, Maus will celebrate 20 years with KPTV and "Good Day Oregon."
"It's flown by," she says. "We have a great morning crew — just a wonderful group of people. We truly like and enjoy each other, and I think we do a good job of blending personalities with the day's news."
Maus' broadcasts run the gamut — from the day's most important headlines to personality features about teenage do-gooders or the story of a spry 87-year-old basketball referee from Salem.
"I consider myself old fashioned where journalism is concerned," says Maus. "People need to know what's going on in their world. We don't put anything on the air we don't fully confirm beforehand, but at the same time, with all the negative stuff going on, we look for opportunities to put something inspiring out there."
Though the rise of the Internet and the popularity of social media have at times presented challenges — "I don't like reading tweets on the air," says Maus — she embraces the significance of what she does for a living.
"I feel truly grateful and blessed to be able to do the work I do," she adds.
After nearly two decades in Portland, Maus said she appreciates the producers and writers of her show, as well as her longtime co-hosts Andy Carson, Tony Martinez and Joe Vithayathil, who handle weather, traffic and feature reports.
"We're like a well-oiled machine," Maus says of the Emmy Award-winning morning show. "We feel like we really know our viewers, and we pride ourselves on breaking news," such as the Amtrak train derailment in Washington in December or the wildfires in the Columbia River Gorge last summer.
"Good Day Oregon" co-anchor Shauna Parsons joined Maus on the morning-show desk two years ago. They were co-workers for 17 years before that, though on opposite shifts when Parsons anchored the evening news.
"I actually worked with her brother in Salt Lake City before moving to Portland ... he was a sports reporter at my previous station," says Parsons. "I think that's part of the reason Kim and I connected so quickly and easily."
Parsons says their workaday relationship — "what you see is what you get" in terms of the pair's on-air connection, she insists — has evolved to one of genuine friendship.
"We truly adore each other and there is just a natural chemistry that flows as a result," says Parsons. "We make each other laugh so hard we cry. We talk each other through different things in our lives.
"In some ways we are on the exact same page, but in other ways we are incredibly different — and I think that's why it works so well."
A big group of loyal Portland-area viewers have tuned into Maus for years — and she says that's afforded them a chance to get to know her as a person.
It was Parsons who suggested Maus air segments about her home remodel, and Maus' public Facebook page is filled with photos from her North Plains farm.
"We look at a camera every day, but the viewers actually see us as human beings," she says. "I post on my Facebook page about my animals as a way to connect with viewers, and I get a lot of feedback. It's nice when I can put a face to a comment or story suggestion."
Even though she's a public figure, Maus says she's rarely recognized outside the TV studio. "I'm pretty private, actually," she notes. Years ago a stalker showed up at the studio with an engagement ring — "that was startling," she says — but she hasn't had any problems since.
After her 50th birthday last year, Maus turned inward a bit more, taking time to reflect on her life so far and what she wants moving forward.
"I've always been introverted, but I think I'm realizing more and more what's important," she says. "I'm in that nesting mode now. I enjoy cooking meals with my husband and doing projects together. I walk outside with the goats and the horses and talk to them like they're my kids. Those things make me happy."
Still, Maus plans to remain on the air a while longer, doing what she does best.
"I've been on the anchor desk for a long time," she says. "But I still like telling people's stories and learning something new every day.
By Nancy Townsley
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