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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
  • overeating

    The holidays and compulsive overeating: Help is available

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – From office parties to family gatherings, food is a central part of many holiday celebrations. For those who struggle with food issues, such as compulsive overeating, it can be a difficult time of year. However, support is available. Since 1960, Overeaters Anonymous has helped people find physical, emotional and spiritual recovery. The organization’s website states, “you’ll find members who are morbidly obese, extremely or moderately overweight, average weight or underweight; still maintaining periodic control over their eating behavior; or totally […]

  • santa

    Autism Society of Alabama offering “Sensory Santa” program

    Huntsville, Ala. (WHNT) – For many children, a visit with Santa is one of the highlights of the holiday season. But for those on the autism spectrum, such a visit can be difficult, even impossible. Children with autism spectrum disorder often suffer sensory challenges. The bright lights, loud noise and large crowds of a shopping mall can be overwhelming. That’s why the Autism Society of Alabama is collaborating with area shopping malls this year to offer a “Sensory Friendly Santa Claus” experience. During a […]

  • downtown huntsville

    A taste of what’s coming to Downtown Huntsville in 2016

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – If Downtown Huntsville’s first food truck season was the appetizer, this year was the main course. Each of the monthly rallies attracted several thousand people to Church Street. “We had more people, more vendors, more affiliated events,” says Downtown Huntsville Inc. CEO Chad Emerson. “It was a huge success,” he adds, “so much so that we’re already game planning for 2016 about how we can handle even more growth.” In addition to the dozens of food […]

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    Energy Summit brings hundreds to Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Energy Huntsville hosted its first summit this week. Around 300 people attended the opening day at the US Space and Rocket Center’s Davidson Center. Energy Huntsville launched four years ago. One of the organization’s missions is to help the area’s technology base grow its business in the energy sector. Board Chairman Jay Newkirk says the summit furthers that goal by bringing together government and commercial agencies. “So we’ve got both consumers gaining from it all and small companies […]

  • Garden of Eat'N to open Monday at Huntsville Botanical Garden

    New restaurant opening Monday at Huntsville Botanical Garden

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A new restaurant will open at Huntsville Botanical Garden on Monday, August 31. Garden of Eat’N is owned by Catherine Shearer and will occupy the space formerly held by Clementine’s. Shearer also operates Happy Tummy at Lowe Mill. She had planned to add a food truck this year rather than a second location. Then, she says, “I heard rumblings that this opportunity was there and so, I talked to the garden and it worked out.” Garden of Eat’N will offer some of […]

  • Is your child struggling in school? Some signs help is needed

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The new school year is well underway and students around the Tennessee Valley are settling into the daily grind. If you’re a parent, you may have already noticed some homework struggles. So, how can you tell a normal learning curve from a potential problem? Catherine Greenwell with Appleton Learning has worked as a tutor and in the schools. She says some of the first signs of trouble may come at homework time, with assignments that take children […]

  • CARE Center in critical need of tutors, mentors to help children in SE Madison County

    MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The CARE Center is looking for several dozen people with a heart for children and the desire to make a difference. The non-profit’s mission is to reduce poverty in southeastern Madison County through emergency services, recovery programs, employment resources and education initiatives. As part of its education outreach, The CARE Center provides tutors and mentors to children who could use some extra help.  However, Executive Director Angela Hawke says around 30 tutors and 30 mentors […]

  • Grand opening of HHA's Chestnut Glen Apartments

    Huntsville Housing Authority opens two new developments with new approach to public housing

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville Housing Authority celebrated the opening of two new developments Monday with a ribbon-cutting at Chestnut Glen apartments on Research Park Boulevard. Chestnut Glen and its sister project, Legacy Hill on Winchester Road, are both 40-unit complexes, offering a new approach to public housing. Speaking at the Chestnut Glen ceremony, Huntsville Housing Authority CEO Michael Lundy said, “we are turning the page and breaking the cycle of generational poverty in public housing as we know it.” […]

  • The Rocket City Tailgate Challenge returns to the VBC Saturday

    Ready for football? Rocket City Tailgate Challenge offers free, family fun

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Rocket City Tailgate Challenge returns to the Von Braun Center in Downtown Huntsville Saturday, August 22. The free, family event at the South Hall includes a BBQ competition, game day fashion show, face painting, balloon animals, a youth athletic challenge and an attempt to break the world burpee record. There will also be plenty of vendors on site. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Here’s the full schedule: 10:00 a.m. – Registration for Guinness […]

  • ARC of Madison County receives a $5,000 check as the winner of the Regions Bank "What a Difference a Day Makes" competition

    Arc of Madison County the big winner in Regions Bank competition

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – For more than 60 years, the Arc of Madison County has provided services to people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.  On Thursday, the agency’s work was honored with a $5,000 donation from Regions Bank. The Arc was the overall winner of the 2015 Regions Bank “What a Difference a Day Makes” contest. Nonprofits, representing each of the 19 geographic areas served by Regions across 16 states, competed for the prize.  The Arc was the nominee of the […]

  • Maj. Gen. James Simpson, new ACC commanding general, accepts flag from General Dennis Via

    Redstone Arsenal welcomes new ACC commanding general

    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) – The US Army Contracting Command has a new commanding general. Tuesday morning, a change of command ceremony took place for the ACC. The incoming ACC commander is Maj. Gen. James E. Simpson. He replaces outgoing commander Maj. Gen. Theodore Harrison III. Maj. Gen. Simpson said, “about 5 years ago, I was chief of the Army Contracting Command. So, this is like coming back home. I know the mission.” The ACC is a major subordinate command […]

  • (Image: MGN Online)

    Alzheimer’s Town Hall set for Aug. 20 in Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alzheimer’s Association is holding a town hall meeting in Huntsville later this week. The annual event is scheduled for Thursday, August 20 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. It’s open to anyone affected by Alzheimer’s, as well as those interested in learning more about the disease. The meeting will be at the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, which is located at 915 Monroe Street. Experts in the field will discuss the latest advocacy efforts, including the HOPE for Alzheimer’s […]


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