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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.

When she's not at work, you can usually find Melissa outside with her giant Golden Retriever and terrific toddler or out on Lake Guntersville. You can reach Melissa via Twitter @MelissaRiopka or at melissa.riopka@whnt.com

Recent Articles
  • Before and after photos of a closet organized by Life Simplified

    Spring into Organization: professional tips for a clutter-free home

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – For many people, spring is a season for deep cleaning, changing out closets and freshening up the house. But if getting your home organized is a project you keep putting off, you’re not alone. It can be a daunting task, as Certified Professional Organizer Karen Wright has learned during her years of working with clients around the Huntsville area. Wright opened Life Simplified in 2008 to help bring order to people’s lives. She has some advice for anyone tackling an organization […]

  • National Children's Advocacy Center in Huntsville

    National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville having international impact

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The 31st International Child Abuse Symposium wrapped up at the Von Braun Center this week. The annual conference is hosted by the National Children’s Advocacy Center. Since its creation in Huntsville in 1985, the NCAC has revolutionized the country’s response to child sexual abuse. The model brings together law enforcement, criminal justice, child protective service, medical and mental health workers to provide a coordinated response to abuse prevention and intervention. There are now hundreds of Children’s […]

  • Protecting plants from Spring freeze

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Cooler temperatures are a reminder that spring is a changeable season here in the Tennessee Valley. If the recent string of warm sunny days inspired you to do some early planting, don’t despair. George Bennett of Bennett Nurseries says he believes most flowering plants and cool-season vegetables will survive the freeze we’re expecting. Of greater concern are warm-weather vegetables like peppers and tomatoes. These and other vulnerable plants will need to be protected over the next […]

  • Wear green Wednesday and support cerebral palsy awareness

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Wednesday, March 25 is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day and Americans are encouraged to wear a bit of green in honor of the day. The event, authorized by Congress, recognizes that cerebral palsy is one of the most common forms of lasting disability in children. Contrary to what many think, cerebral palsy is not a disease. It is a disorder related to a brain injury, affecting muscle movement, that occurs before, during or shortly after birth. In an […]

  • NCAC hosting annual child abuse symposium
(Photo: WHNT)

    31st International Symposium on Child Abuse underway at VBC

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – They’ve spent their careers chasing down the worst society has to offer, interviewing the most vulnerable of victims and working to stop the heartbreak of child abuse. For one week each year, those involved in the various fields of child abuse and prevention are invited to Huntsville for an international symposium hosted by the National Children’s Advocacy Center. This year, nearly 1,300 experts and advocates from more than a dozen countries are in attendance. Through dozens of […]

  • Traffic on I-565

    Citizens Academy on Transportation scheduled for Thursday evening

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The latest Citizens Academy will focus on transportation. Residents are invited to attend the public forum at 6pm Thursday at Columbia High School. The academies are part of Huntsville’s master planning process, which began last spring. The event will begin with a presentation by Stephen Stansbery, a North-Carolina based transportation planner. Topics will include funding for future traffic solutions, alternatives to single-occupant vehicles and more. Following the presentation, residents will have an opportunity to ask questions […]

  • Sprouts Farmers Market now open in Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – An Arizona-based grocery store chain is expanding its presence in Alabama. Sprouts Farmers Market opened a location in Huntsville Wednesday morning. The store is at 7504 Highway 72 West, in the same shopping center as the new Hobby Lobby. According to company officials, Sprouts Farmers Market offers “fresh, natural and organic foods at great prices.” Giveaways and discounts brought out a crowd for the grand opening. The specials continue on Saturday, March 21 when the first 200 […]

  • Gen. Dennis Via welcomes cadets to JROTC Day

    JROTC Day brings nearly 600 students to Redstone Arsenal

    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) – For nearly 600 Tennessee Valley high school students, roll call was a bit different Tuesday. Normally, a teacher calls a name. The student responds with “here.” But when roll call is held at Redstone Arsenal’s JROTC Day, the only proper response is “hooah!” The Army cheer rang out again and again at the installation’s activity field, as each JROTC program was called. The groups represented 16 high schools from Huntsville, Madison County and beyond. The young cadets […]

  • Judge to consider testimony, public remarks in school desegregation hearings

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A second day of proceedings in Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala's courtroom in downtown Huntsville brought another full audience of engaged parents.

  • Huntsville_City_Schools400x225

    Federal judge asked to approve rezoning agreement

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)–  Attorneys for the Huntsville Board of Education and the Department of Justice are back in federal court Wednesday, but this time they will be on the same side, asking a judge to approve their school rezoning agreement. The hearing started at 9 a.m. at the federal courthouse in downtown Huntsville. It’s the end result of more than  six months of mediation between the Huntsville City School Board and the Department of Justice. WHNT News 19 is covering […]

  • Downtown Huntsville Inc looking for ideas on small spaces with big impact

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Downtown Huntsville Inc. is looking for ideas on how to temporarily change the city center’s landscape with micro parks. Downtown Huntsville Inc CEO Chad Emerson says, “a micro park is a semi-permanent park, really inspired by our pop up parks that we’ve been doing each October for the last couple of years.” Micro parks have been done in other parts of the country. Here in Huntsville, the sky is the limit as to what they might look […]

  • Cedric Ryans (Photo: HPD)

    Second man charged in conspiracy & bribery case to be arraigned

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A second man indicted in a conspiracy to bribe a Huntsville police officer is expected in federal court.  An arraignment is scheduled for 2 p.m. for Cedric Duane Ryans at the federal courthouse in downtown Huntsville. Ryans is charged with three counts in connection with an alleged conspiracy to make a cocaine-trafficking charge for an “un-named suspect” go away.  The counts against the 42 year old include conspiracy to defraud the United States and intimidation of […]


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