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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
  • Photo: MGN Online

    New CDC report may lead to more targeted suicide prevention efforts

      ATLANTA, Georgia (WHNT) – A recently released report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds the suicide rate in the US rose 24% from 1999 through 2014. Other key findings include: Suicide rates increased from 1999 through 2014 for both men and women, ages 10-74 The greatest increase was seen in men, ages 45-64 Among women, the greatest increase was in girls, ages 10-14 Among men, the most frequent method of suicide in 2014 involved firearms (55.4%) […]

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    Lost and Found: How Facebook helped one woman reunite tornado victims with their most precious possessions

    ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – Patty Bullion and her family escaped the brunt of the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. Yet, they were not untouched. Outside their West Limestone home, Bullion found a photo. Then, another. And, another. Even more were scattered around her mother-in-law’s home, down the road. The pictures didn’t belong to anyone in her family. She had no idea where they came from, how far they might have been tossed by the storm. But she knew she had to try […]

  • Restoration Church

    Madison church marks 5th anniversary of tornadoes with a community invitation

    MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Like so many congregations, Restoration Foursquare Church on Wall Triana Highway in Madison found a number of its members impacted by the April 27, 2011 tornadoes. Church leaders, of course, worked to meet those needs but they didn’t stop there. The day after the storms, the church began its first major community outreach. Much of the surrounding area was without power. The church had plenty of gas and gas appliances. Pastor Huey Hudson says the next step […]

  • All Nations Church

    Huntsville church hosting free community party

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – This weekend marks five years since Hillsboro Heights Baptist Church in Southwest Huntsville became All Nations Church. The name change was intended to reflect the church’s intentional focus  on the surrounding community. Over the decades, the neighborhood evolved from mostly engineers and their families to a largely fluid population of immigrants, students and others. Looking back on the last five years, Pastor Larry Inman says the church has truly welcomed people from all nations and all backgrounds. Now […]

  • Ability Career Fair

    Ability Career Fair connects employers and individuals with disabilities

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – If attendance and enthusiasm are any indication of success, the first Ability Career Fair exceeded all expectations. More than 300 job seekers and nearly three dozen employers came together for Wednesday’s event, hosted by UAH. The career fair was the project of a small group from Class 29 of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County. The group members represent a variety of industries and interests but in coming up with the idea for the career fair, they all recognized the need for such […]

  • Volunteers setting up for Plea Market at Jaycee Community Building

    “Plea Market” to benefit the North Alabama Spay and Neuter Clinic

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Jaycee Community Building in Huntsville is filled to bursting with household items, gadgets, collectibles and more. Volunteers with the North Alabama Spay and Neuter Clinic are busily organizing tables of donations for the 7th annual “Plea Market.” The clinic’s main fundraiser is typically held in November each year. However, last fall the clinic was closed and the event was pushed back to April 15-16. This year’s market opens Friday, April 15 at 6pm with a preview sale […]

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    New group promises “safe forum” to discuss concerns about Huntsville City Schools

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The newly formed Huntsville Education Alliance (HEAL) will hold its first public meeting Tuesday, April 12 at 6:30pm. According to organizers, “HEAL’s mission is to improve Huntsville’s learning environment by providing an independent safe forum for public discussion.” Tuesday’s meeting, in the main auditorium of the Downtown Huntsville public library, will focus on student discipline and teacher retention. Spokesperson David Pinkleton says, “we’ve recently had some fights at Grissom High School, Huntsville High School. I know […]

  • Image: MGN Online

    FEMA: Prepare now for possible disaster tomorrow

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A national campaign is underway, urging Americans to prepare now for possible disaster, tomorrow. The campaign is leading up to an April 30 event called America’s PrepareAthon! Organizers describe it as a “national call to action for individuals and organizations to take simple, specific actions to improve their preparedness for a potential disaster.” For some communities around the country, that means holding earthquake preparedness workshops. Others are conducting nuclear siren tests. Still others are planning storm-spotter classes. Around the Tennessee Valley, tornadoes […]

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    Parents and children find quality time, new opportunities with Family Learning Program

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Village of Promise in Huntsville is offering a new program. The Toyota Family Learning program is made possible by a three-year, $175,000 grant from Toyota and the National Center for Families Learning. The grant was announced Thursday. Village of Promise offers a number of programs – with the aim of “eradicating generational poverty, one neighborhood at a time.” It is the 15th organization to be included in the program. Approximately 100 parents and children are enrolled. There is […]

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    Meet “Dottie” – the Huntsville Hospital robot helping deliver faster lab results

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville Hospital processes around 3 million lab specimens each year. That breaks down to approximately 8,000 a day. Just picking up each specimen as it arrives and delivering it to the proper analyst is a full-time job. And these days, a robot is meeting that need. “Dottie,” as it’s known, has been with the hospital since late January. The robo-courier came from an out-of-state hospital that was upgrading to a newer model. Nichola Marcus is Huntsville […]

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    DIB ISAC helping companies prepare for ever-evolving threats

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – There’s an aphorism in the tech world: There are two kinds of companies. Those that have been hacked and those that don’t know they’ve been hacked. Steve Lines sees the truth in that. Lines is the executive director of the Defense Industrial Base Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or DIB ISAC. DIB ISAC is one of two-dozen centers, each tasked with helping protect a specific, critical area of US infrastructure. In the case of DIB ISAC, the […]

  • Autism Awareness

    Bridging the Autism employment gap

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – In just a couple of months, high school students across the Tennessee Valley will receive their diplomas. And the phones at Glenwood Autism & Behavioral Health Center will begin to ring. The question is often the same – “My son or daughter is about to graduate from high school. What do I do now?” David Lang is the director of Glenwood’s Journey Academy. He says age 21 is typically the cutoff for high school enrollment. After that, it’s up to […]

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