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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
  • Going ‘Free Range,’ a return to parenting of the past

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – From the cities to the suburbs, a parenting movement is underway. A direct reaction to the ‘Helicopter Parent’ we’ve heard so much about, it’s a return to the parenting of our past. The moms and dads who follow this path — known as ‘Free Range Parents.’ The movement can be traced back to 2008, when Lenore Skenazy let her 9-year-old son ride the subway by himself. Skenazy, a New York journalist, then wrote about the experience. Within […]

  • Meet the 2018 winners of the Morris, King & Hodge driver safety scholarship program

    Huntsville, Ala. – Congratulations are in order for Jordan Jett, John Washington and Sidney Gunter. They are the winners of the 2018 driver safety scholarship contest from Morris, King & Hodge – our partners in the Distracted Driving project. Jordan Jett just graduated from Lawrence County High School and will attend the University of North Alabama this fall, where she intends to major in elementary education. Her winning essay was inspired by personal experience. As Jordan explains, she was on her […]

  • By the numbers: Steep costs of child care put pressure on Alabama families

    If you’re a parent or even a grandparent, you know how expensive child care can be. In fact, many parents find it’s cheaper to have one spouse stay home than spend an entire paycheck, or more, than go to daycare. Other families rely on grandparents to fill in the child care gaps. However, a new report is shedding new light on the scope of the issue in America. The Care Index, a data collaboration, between New America, Care.com and others […]

  • Harris Home for Children Giving Students a BOOST

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Harris Home for Children is planning to build another facility to serve more children and continue the mission to offer the highest quality of foster care services to the children of Alabama. The non-profit agency is also in the process of doing some upgrades to our facilities. The home in Huntsville, Ala. is licensed by the Alabama Department of Human Resource as a foster care institution and child placement agency. The Harris Home provides full-time foster care […]

  • Carts4Hearts returns to Downtown Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – An annual fundraiser for the Downtown Rescue Mission is right around the corner and looking for more people to register. The annual “Carts4Hearts” is a 5K around downtown Huntsville.  It’s an imitation of the Iditarod, the famous Alaskan long-distance sled dog race. “It’s not done anywhere else in the South,” said Tonia Beverly with the Mission. “It’s a team of six people and a shopping cart.” Rain, shine or otherwise, the race will go on — just […]

  • You’re invited to the 7th annual Voices for Madison County Children

    Huntsville, Ala. – United Way of Madison County will host the 7th Annual “Voices for Madison County Children” on Thursday, February 1. Community leaders, those serving and taking care of children (in and outside the home), and those with a passion for the next generation are all invited. There will be new resources and information on the status of families and children in Madison County, featuring specialized Stewards of Children training on keeping our children safe and much more. There […]

  • The Sandwich Generation: Caring for children and aging parents

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Born in 1976, I always considered myself part of Generation X. But in December 2011, I entered another generation. The Sandwich Generation. That’s when my grandfather, the man who raised me, was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. At the time, my son was less than a month old. The Sandwich Generation is an inclusive club. Over the years, it’s welcomed everyone from Gen-X’ers to Baby Boomers. Millennials – your invitation is coming. The term dates back to at […]

  • Tonight at 10: Melissa Riopka looks at caring for children and aging parents in “The Sandwich Generation”

    A few months ago, my son and I were talking about superheroes. Specifically, what if we were superheroes. Who would we be? What kind of power would we want? It’s the kind of conversation I love most. The few minutes we spend in the car on the way to or from school, chatting about nothing and everything. His sister taking a catnap. No subject too absurd. From the wonders of medieval sewer systems to who would win – Great White or Killer Whale? Before I […]

  • Get your tickets to the tastiest party in town, and help give Alabama babies a fighting chance

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Signature Chefs Auction returns to Huntsville this Thursday, raising money for the March of Dimes. It’s a fun evening at the Stone Event Center at Campus No. 805, featuring a culinary showcase by some the area’s top chefs. WHNT News 19 is a proud sponsor. Organizers say “each tasting is thoughtfully created to tantalize the palette of even the savviest ‘foodie’ and highlight the chef’s unique and exceptional talents.” The party also includes entertainment and auction […]

  • Out of the Darkness Walk for Suicide Prevention Sunday, October 1 at Ditto Landing

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – When you walk in the Out of the Darkness North Alabama Walk, you join the effort with hundreds of thousands of people to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss. Thanks to walkers and donors, AFSP has been able to set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20% by 2025. Join […]

  • Family, friends gather to remember veteran killed in recent wreck

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Family and friends gathered together on Thursday to remember Ron Creech. They held a vigil near where the 33-year-old Iraq War Veteran died in a motorcycle wreck. The wreck happened on Triana Boulevard on September 15th. “I knew something was wrong when I got there and the doors weren’t opened,” remembers Sheri Layne, the general manager of Durham School Services. “Something in my heart said I need to go check and see what’s going here because Ron’s not […]

  • 2017 Angel Tree program making some changes, but need for volunteers remains the same

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Salvation Army Huntsville Corps is making some changes to its annual Angel Tree Registration this year. Families who would like their children (must be 12 or under as of Christmas) to receive gifts from the program must call 256-536-5576 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are being accepted now. Appointment times are 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, at 2114 Oakwood Avenue. The Salvation Army will ask for the following documents Clothing and shoe sizes; and two wish […]