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Melissa Riopka is an Alabama native with strong ties to the Tennessee Valley. A graduate of Cullman High School, she received her broadcasting degree from the University of Alabama.

From there, she traveled (slightly) north to Tennessee. After a great eight years as a reporter/anchor in Chattanooga, Melissa went to work at a Birmingham television station.

In 2010, it was time for another move following her husband’s job transfer. Now she and her family are happy to call Huntsville home.

Melissa currently anchors WHNT News 19 at 5 with Greg Screws and WHNT News 19 at 6:30 with Jerry Hayes.

When she’s not at work, you can usually find Melissa outside with her family, enjoying the hiking trails around Monte Sano or the waters of Lake Guntersville.

You can reach Melissa on Twitter @MelissaRiopka or at melissa.riopka@whnt.com

Recent Articles
  • American Red Cross logo (MGN Online)

    American Red Cross launches summer awareness campaign

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The American Red Cross is launching its annual summer awareness campaign. Every summer, blood donations drop as fewer donors make appointments to give. At the same time, the need for blood typically increases. To encourage donations around the Memorial Day holiday, donors who stop by from May 27-31 will receive a Red Cross T-shirt and other incentives. Special blood drives are also planned around the Fourth of July and Labor Day. The Madison County Blood Collection […]

  • L to R: Samin Riyaz, Nour Qushair and Lauren Faulkner wrote the winning essays. (Photo: Denise Vickers/WHNT News 19)

    Scholarship winners share life-saving message about importance of stopping distracted driving

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A Huntsville law firm in encouraging young people to be part of the solution to distracted driving. Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. recently held its 2nd annual Driver Safety Scholarship contest.  The law firm invited high school seniors and college freshmen to submit original 1,000-word essays on the important topic of distracted driving. Entrants were challenged to create an original essay “explaining the dangers of texting and driving and practical steps to ending this momentous problem.” […]

  • Image: MGN Online

    Amid fears of Zika virus, mosquito prevention takes on added urgency

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville’s mosquito fogging program will resume Wednesday, May 18. Four trucks will run weekdays, from 7 p.m. until midnight. Cheryl Clay is the public health senior environmentalist for the Madison County Health Department. Her staff in the Vector Control Division uses surveillance data to determine when the fogging should begin. “By mid-May there are usually mosquitoes all over the city,” she says. The surveillance typically begins in March. But this year, the inquiries started coming even earlier. “We actually started […]

  • Texting and driving

    Classes filling quickly in this summer’s free Teen Distracted Driving Course

    MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is once again offering its free distracted driving course for teens. But, spaces in the summer classes are filling quickly. Organizers urge interested parents and students to fill out the application as soon as possible. You’ll find the application here. Once it’s completed, the application should be emailed to Sgt. David Moody at dmoody@madisoncountyal.gov. The one-day classes are scheduled from 8am to 3pm. Lunch is provided. The current schedule is: […]

  • Ms. Dolly Jackson, with her bottle cap "crown," and her University Place students are honored for their recycling efforts.

    Tops with Bottle Tops: University Place Elementary takes first place in recycling contest, once again

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Forty-three Huntsville schools competed in Operation Green Team’s annual plastic bottle top recycling contest. But, there could only be one winner and, once again, it was University Place Elementary. Ms. Dolly Jackson’s response? “Of course, we won. We always win.” The long-time teacher, known simply as Ms. Dolly, to generations of students spearheaded the effort to collect 3,052,230 of the caps. Some of the tops came from as far away as Germany. Yes, Germany. Over the last six […]

  • Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle

    Mayor’s Bike Ride, Super Saturday on the (new) Green

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Mayor’s Bike Ride and Super Saturday on the Green return May 14. But, this year, the “Green” is a bit different. The two events, part of the Healthy Huntsville initiative, will take place at the city’s newest park – Butler Green at Campus No. 805. The bike ride is described as a four-mile, family-friendly loop. From 9 a.m. until noon, there will also be free exercise classes, children’s activities, nutrition experts and fitness vendors at the park. […]

  • Students at Mill Creek Elementary in Madison are creating digital portfolios.

    Digital Portfolio Initiative setting up Madison City students for future success

    MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – When Daniel Whitt wanted to teach his students at James Clemens High School how to build a digital portfolio, he found the curriculum didn’t exist. So, the help of Mason Overcash, an art teacher at James Clemens, he created his own. As Whitt explains, the students “are able to create a one-stop shop on the web where anyone who comes across it can see what they care about, what they’re good about and what they’ve accomplished.” The program […]

  • Image: Ferre' Dollar/CNN

    Gas prices rising along with the temperatures; although summer fuel costs predicted to be lower than 2015

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – You’ve probably noticed gas prices have been rising the last couple of weeks. After bottoming out in February, fuel costs in the Tennessee Valley have steadily climbed past the $2 a gallon mark. “It is that time of year when our gas prices do start to trend upward because the weather’s warmer, our demand is stronger and typically, anytime our demand goes up, our prices go up right along with it,” said Clay Ingram of AAA Alabama. However, prices […]

  • (Courtesy: MGN Online)

    Calling all companies: How you can help disabled students prepare to compete

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Renee Scruggs knows the challenges facing disabled and special needs students. She was an 18-year-old Oakwood University freshman when she returned home to Detroit for Christmas break. That’s where an accident on an icy street left her pinned between two cars, her legs crushed between them. Scruggs underwent two amputations and months of grueling physical therapy before returning to Oakwood the next fall. “Before I was a kid with a disability, I never thought about, ‘how am I […]

  • University Pickers is at 3024 University Drive (at the corner of University & Oster)

    Picker’s Marketplace returns, offering unique finds in support of a good cause

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Picker’s Marketplace is back. The two-day event, May 6-7, will bring more than 120 vendors to University Pickers, 3024 University Drive, in Huntsville. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Shoppers will find antique, vintage, handmade and re-purposed items, along with food trucks, painting demos, a children’s craft area and workshops. In addition to the store’s regular vendors, there will also be several dozen outside sellers. The marketplace is a fundraising event, with […]

  • Image: Thinkstock

    The Food Allergy Fight: A struggle facing millions of children and their families

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Milk, eggs, wheat bread and peanut butter are common grocery items for many families.  But for others, especially a growing number of children, these are foods that can kill. Doctors will tell you, food allergies are more than just a fad.  Reactions occur within minutes. Untreated, they can result in anaphylactic shock — a tightening of the airways and drop in blood pressure — even death. OUR FAMILY’S STORY: For our family, this is a personal issue.  When our […]

  • Peanut

    The Food Allergy Fight: Understand hidden dangers of food allergies and how they impact all of us

    A growing number of children are developing food allergies.  You may have noticed this in your child’s school, or it may be the case for your son or daughter. That’s the case for WHNT News 19’s Melissa Riopka.  She spoke with another family dealing with the same issues and a well-known local allergist for a special report that airs tonight at 10:00. Sue Allen is helping her son Isaac learn how to deal with a dangerous peanut allergy.  There are […]


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