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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
  • 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 […]

  • Homework help in the digital age

    Tennessee Valley students are back in class and the homework is already pouring in. Many of these assignments require a computer, which means parents should be prepared to offer some digital help. Augusta Nissly is coordinator of the Family Online Safety Institute’s Good Digital Parenting program. She says, “for elementary, school-aged children, the focus should be on teaching them that how they act online should be the same as how they act offline. So, when you’re working on manners, translate that to – […]

  • 2015 Huntsville Restaurant Week underway through Aug. 23

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville Restaurant Week is back and bigger than ever. The 10-day event is now underway, with more than 60 local eateries offering lunch and/or dinner specials. The restaurants can choose to offer lunch specials for $5, $10 or $15, including a main course and an appetizer or dessert. Dinner specials must include an appetizer, main course and dessert for $10, $20 or $30. This is the fourth year for the celebration, which focuses on locally owned and […]

  • From corporate executive to international missionary, Huntsville woman entering the World Race

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Victoria Croy is a woman on a mission. The 28-year-old Huntsville native is leaving her family, her home and her job to spend the next year working as an international missionary. On September 5th, she’ll leave for the World Race, a journey that will take her to 11 countries in 11 months. “I’ll  start in Macedonia. I’ll spend four months in Central Eastern Europe. So, I’ll be in Macedonia, Kosovo, Romania and Albania for the first four […]

  • downtown Huntsville

    Continuing the conversation on race relations in Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The community is again invited to a conversation about race relations at UAH. The public forum, scheduled for Thursday, July 30th from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Charger Union Theater, drew a crowd of around 30 people. The event was a follow-up to April’s “Let’s Start the Conversation Concerning Race Relations,” which focused on the relationship between the community and police. For Thursday evening’s forum, the conversation was more general. Organizers say the goal was to find […]


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