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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
  • Courtesy: Radial Fest 2K14

    “Hot Wheels” in Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – They are sleek. They are loud. They are very, very fast. Some of the world’s fastest cars on street legal tires are in Huntsville this weekend. The Huntsville Dragway is hosting Radial Fest Friday and Saturday. It’s the first event of its kind for the facility. Teams from across the country will put their cars to the test, reaching speeds of more than 190mph on the 1/8 mile long concrete drag strip. If you’d like to check […]

  • Staying “street smart” on Halloween

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Many children will tell you Halloween is one of their favorite days of the year. However, children’s safety advocates will add that it’s also one of the most deadly. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children are twice as likely to be hit and killed by a vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year. To help children stay safe while trick-or-treating, Safe Kids offers the following recommendations: Walk on sidewalks or paths, crossing the street at traffic […]

  • Preliminary injunction sought in abortion clinic lawsuit in Madison County

    Abortion clinic opponents await ruling after court hearing seeking preliminary injunction

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Pro-life advocates, who are suing to shut down Huntsville’s abortion clinic, gathered across from the Madison County Courthouse Thursday morning for a silent prayer vigil. The vigil came ahead of a 9 a.m. hearing in their case against the City of Huntsville’s Zoning Board. WHNT News 19’s Daniela Perallon is Tweeting from the hearing – follow her updates @DanielaPerallon. The group is seeking a preliminary injunction that would prevent the clinic on Sparkman Drive from operating […]

  • NASA Administrator Charles Bolden places a call to the ISS from Marshall Space Flight Center

    “Hello, ISS? This is Huntsville.”

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Making a phone call has never been easier. It’s certainly not rocket science. That is, unless, you’re calling the International Space Station from the science command post at Marshall Space Flight Center. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden placed just such a call Tuesday morning. At 11:30 a.m., Bolden was connected with space station Expedition 41 Flight Engineers Barry E. “Butch” Wilmore and Gregory Reid Wiseman. Wiseman has been living and working on the orbiting laboratory for five […]

  • “Magnet Awareness Week” offering prospective students a look at Huntsville magnet programs

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Huntsville City Schools system is holding “Magnet Awareness Week” October 27th-31st. Magnet schools offer students an opportunity to receive specialized instruction in areas such as computer science, foreign languages and fine arts, while still completing all required course work. The magnets are open to any student within the city limits. Magnet schools have been a part of the system since 1984, when the Academy for Academics and Arts opened. Seven schools now participate. They include: […]

  • Day of the Deployed

    Day of the Deployed a reverent, emotional ceremony in Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)– A crowd gathered Sunday at Huntsville’s Veterans Memorial Park to give thanks to those who are, or have been, deployed and those they leave behind when they go. “We want to thank them for their sacrifice and for maintaining our safety,” said David Carney, who introduced the event. Sen. Bill Holtzclaw remarked, “It’s truly hardest on the families as they try to make everyday life seem normal.” He joined Mayor Tommy Battle, Col. Ret. Coy Hallmark, and […]

  • Murder defendant removed from court; case sent to Madison County grand jury

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Madison County District Court Judge Alison Austin ruled Wednesday there was enough probable cause to send Clarence Fearn’s murder case to a grand jury. Fearn was arrested in July, ending a nearly five-year investigation into the shooting death of his stepfather, George Woodard. Woodard was killed on September 30, 2009, in the driveway of his home on Debbie Boulevard in Madison County. It happened around 5:30 a.m., as he was leaving for his job at the Toyota […]

  • Santa’s Helpers could use a little help this Christmas

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A parent unexpectedly loses a job. A fire leaves a family with nothing. A sudden illness wipes out meager savings. When these things happen, Christmas lists can become impossible to fill. That’s where Santa’s Helpers comes in. The charity, founded by Barbara Thomas and her husband seven years ago, provides gifts to children in the Madison County area who have fallen through the cracks of other holiday support services. “We’re a last-stop effort,” Thomas says. When Thomas hears about a family who […]

  • Huntsville's first "Street Food Season" ends Friday

    Huntsville’s first “Street Food Season” ends with food trucks on a roll

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Last summer, there were seven food trucks operating in the city of Huntsville. Today, there are more than triple that number. Huntsville’s food truck revolution started with a 2013 change in city ordinance that allowed the trucks to sell downtown, but it exploded with the introduction of the “2014 Street Food Season.” In April, the city held the first food truck rally. It was met by huge crowds, hungry for a new dining experience. Since then, organizers estimate […]

  • Look at what’s popping in Downtown Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Downtown Pop Up Experience is back and bigger than before. Designers put the finishing touches on their tiny, temporary parks in Downtown Huntsville Thursday. Downtown Huntsville Inc. CEO Chad Emerson says the event’s sophomore year includes a few additional entries, bringing the total number of parks to twelve. The parks, which are set up in parking places around the historic Courthouse Square area, will be on display through October 26th. Last year’s event  lasted just three days. The only rule […]

  • U.S. flag (WHNT File)

    Free military transition workshop going on Friday

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – On Friday, October 17, transitioning and recently separated military members can attend a free workshop in Huntsville. The workshop, offered by NMR Consulting and Still Serving Veterans, will provide free resume writing assistance, interview preparation and online profile creation and/or revision. It’s scheduled for 9:00 a.m. -4:30 p.m. at Redstone Federal Credit Union on Wynn Drive in Huntsville. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Registration is required. Those interested in attending should contact Cory Thacker at […]

  • post office

    Huntsville mail carriers recognized for driving millions of miles, accident-free

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Two-dozen Huntsville mail carriers were recognized Thursday morning for their outstanding safety records. The US Postal Service honored 21 employees for logging one-million miles without an accident. Three employees, each with decades of service to the USPS, received awards for traveling two-million accident-free miles on their routes. Larry Worley has been with the USPS for nearly 55 years. He’s had the same South Huntsville route for almost 50 years. For him, it’s more than just a job. “I’ve […]


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