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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
  • Honoring the 2017 winners of the Morris, King & Hodge driver safety scholarship program

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Friday morning, WHNT News 19 welcomed some very special guests to the station. Michael McMeen, Bethaney Jackson and Tyler Behrens are the 2017 winners of the driver safety scholarship program from Morris, King & Hodge – our partners in the Distracted Driving Project. Michael McMeen is a senior at Grissom High School, planning to study applied mathematics at Auburn University. He used his interest in mathematics to do research for his essay, which he titled Driving Blind. […]

  • Carrying the torch for Alabama’s Special Olympics

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Law enforcement officers from across the Madison County area are among those taking part in the annual torch run for the Alabama Special Olympics. Hosted by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, the local effort involves a few dozen officers, many of them giving their own time to the event. They started their run at 7:30 a.m. Thursday around the Madison County Courthouse. From there, the journey took them to the Morgan County Courthouse and then to Jefferson County. […]

  • Creative undercover operation to catch distracted drivers in the act

      FLORENCE, Ala. – It was an unusually cold spring morning when we arrived at the Florence Police Department’s Motor Unit for a unique operation. But the weather worked in police favor, as Officer Alan Hooper bundled up in a bulky coat and cap, getting ready for his undercover role. Officer Hooper would pose as a panhandle at a major intersection on Cox Creek Parkway. When he spotted someone breaking Alabama’s distracted driving law, he would radio ahead to Officer Daniel Haynes. Officer Haynes would then […]

  • Community comes together to honor beloved Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department mascot Squirt

    LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – If every dog has his day, this was Squirt’s. Squirt was “a dog that was more like a friend to many of us.” For 14-years, he served as mascot for the Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department. Until finally, one day this March, his big heart finally gave out. On Saturday, May 6, the town proclaimed “Squirt Day” in honor and appreciation of his service. His years of visiting school children, the elderly and sick. Squirt had a nose for […]

  • Here comes the… Bride’s Cake

    Blue Bell is hoping customers will say, “I do,” to the company’s newest flavor. Bride’s Cake Ice Cream is an almond ice cream with pieces of white cake and a swirl of amaretto cream cheese icing. According to company representatives, they’ve heard from couples who serve ice cream at their receptions in place of the traditional cake. As Jenny Van Dorf, Blue Bell’s public relations manager, puts it, “now you can have both.” Along with the limited-edition Bride’s Cake, Blue […]

  • UNA raising awareness about suicide prevention with “Send Silence Packing” exhibit

    FLORENCE, Ala. – More than a thousand backpacks lay scattered across the lawn in front of the University of North Alabama’s Memorial Amphitheater, Thursday. They were not discarded by students. Rather, each was reverently placed to represent the 1,100 college students who commit suicide annually. “That’s really, really impactful to think of each backpack as a person,” says Dani Lukens. Lukens is the outreach coordinator for the “Send Silence Packing” exhibit, an initiative of the non-profit national organization Active Minds. Active […]

  • A Mother’s Loss: Talking About the Hard Stuff

    No matter how pulled together we may look on the outside. No matter how strong we may be. We all have “stuff.” Painful experiences, memories that rise unbidden, bringing an ache to our hearts. For many women, myself included, that heartache includes pregnancy loss. But because miscarriage is not something often talked about, comfort was hard to find. I felt trapped by grief. Unsure how — or even if — to bring it up. Would it make close friends and […]

  • A Mother’s Loss: Talking About the Hard Stuff

    No matter how pulled together we may look on the outside. No matter how strong we may be. We all have “stuff.” Painful experiences, memories that rise unbidden, bringing an ache to our hearts. I recently read a devotion that referenced the Greek philosopher Plato who said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” The devotion was about comfort. For many women, myself included, that battle Plato spoke of has included pregnancy loss. But because miscarriage is […]

  • Red Bay teenager killed in crash

    The Mississippi Highway Patrol is still investigating a four-vehicle crash in Tishomingo County that claimed the life of an Alabama teen. Troopers responded to MS Highway 366, near Golden, around 2 p.m. Monday. Authorities say it appears 17-year-old Bradley Wilemon of Red Bay was headed west in his 2002 Ford Mustang when he attempted to pass two vehicles. While he was trying to overtake them, troopers say he collided head-on with an eastbound pick-up truck. The truck was also being driven […]

  • Another delay for Sen. Jeff Sessions

    WASHINGTON D.C. – Senator Jeff Sessions has been dealt yet another delay in his quest to become the next U.S. Attorney General. The Senate Judiciary Committee was expected to approve his nomination Tuesday, advancing it to a full Senate vote. Instead, Democrats used a procedural move to delay the process. Although Sessions has denied any role in the crafting of President Trump’s controversial travel ban, Democrats on the committee cited his deep influence in the new administration and questioned whether he […]

  • Congrats to some S-U-P-E-R students!

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Congratulations are in order for some hard-working, quick-thinking elementary students. It’s not easy standing on a stage, trying to remember whether “bemused” has two “e’s” or an “e” and an “i.” In fact, it’s enough to leave anyone feeling a bit bemused. That’s why I was so impressed with the poise and confidence exhibited by the students in Friday’s spelling bee at Goldsmith-Schiffman Elementary School. It was a pleasure to serve as a pronouncer for the event, which is a preliminary for […]

  • Former children’s minister arrested on additional sex abuse charge

    MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – A former children’s minister has been arrested again on an additional charge of sex abuse of a child. James “Javie” McNeal was arrested Thursday on another count of sexual abuse of a child less than 12.  He was booked in the Madison County Jail on $30,000 bond. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office said another child came forward to make similar claims against McNeal. McNeal, 39, was initially arrested in December on two counts of sexual abuse of […]