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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
  • Bailey and Hannah Mercieca with some of the toys collected for the Child Life program during their 2013 drive

    “Bailey’s Toy Drive” helps young hospital patients

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – At 15 months old, Bailey Mercieca was steady on her feet. She was an active, happy toddler who loved playing with her big sister, Hannah. Then, Bailey started stumbling. Her parents, Jenny and Alex, also noticed her eyes had begun to twitch. Anxious for answers, they took their little girl to the emergency room. A CT scan showed a slight inflammation of the brain. Doctors diagnosed it as a temporary condition and said it should disappear in a couple of months. But […]

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    Pro-life activists take fight to stop abortion clinic to Madison County Court

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Opponents of a Huntsville abortion clinic have filed an appeal in Madison County Circuit Court, in an attempt to stop the clinic from moving to a location on Sparkman Drive. The appeal follows an August decision by the Board of Zoning Adjustment to allow the location’s medical variance to stand. The property at 4831 Sparkman Drive is zoned residential but was granted a medical variance to operate in 1998, when it was originally an obstetrics and […]

  • Family of Brigadier General Michael Hoskin gather on stage for his promotion

    Commander of Army ECC promoted to Brigadier General

    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) – Colonel Michael D. Hoskin was promoted to brigadier general Tuesday morning, during a ceremony at Redstone Arsenal. Brigadier General Hoskin is the commander of the US Army Expeditionary Contracting Command. ECC is a subordinate command of the Army Contracting Command. Major General Ted Harrison, ACC commanding general, oversaw the promotion ceremony. Brig. Gen. Hoskin assumed command of the ECC on August 1. His promotion was approved by the US Senate in June. He previously served with […]

  • Rallying to improve birth experiences

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Thousands of women, men and children came together for a common cause Monday in the third annual international Rally to Improve Birth. The rallies took place across the United States, Mexico, Canada and Australia. Locally, an event was held in Huntsville outside A Nurturing Moment, a maternity and breastfeeding boutique. The movement was part of ImprovingBirth.org. The organization started as a small group of moms in San Diego, California but quickly grew to encompass women all over the world. […]

  • Mobile Medical Unit on a roll

    MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Since 2011, Huntsville Hospital’s Mobile Medical Unit has been on a roll. The 39-foot long converted RV has been racking up the miles, crisscrossing Madison County while staff members offer free community-based health screenings. When the Huntsville Hospital Foundation first agreed to purchase the unit, hospital officials set an annual goal of 40 screening events and 1,000 patients seen. This year, the unit will make more than 200 stops and serve more than 6,000 patients. While there […]

  • Buckhorn High students attend presentation on skilled trade opportunities

    Building the corner office; local students encouraged to consider skilled trades as career

    MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – It takes a lot to get 700 high school students to stop talking. Telling them they could have a job paying close to $30 an hour is one way to do it. It’s been well-documented the US is facing a skilled labor shortage. In North Alabama, the local chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors is working to change that, by changing perceptions about these fields.  On Tuesday, Vice President of Membership and Workforce Development Wade Thompson led […]

  • Valley Votes 2014

    Polls Open: Municipal elections underway in Huntsville, Scottsboro

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The polls are open today in Huntsville and Scottsboro for municipal elections.  Voters in Huntsville and Scottsboro will fill city council and school board seats. Polls are open until 7 p.m. and you must bring a valid photo identification to vote. Voters who are unsure of their polling place can find it here, through the Secretary of State’s office. This will also tell you your district. If you are a Huntsville resident and have trouble voting Tuesday, […]

  • Rolling with the Dixie Derby Girls

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Huntsville Stars may leave town but the Rocket City’s second longest-standing sports team has no intention of going anywhere. In fact, the Dixie Derby Girls are rolling right along. If you’ve never caught a roller derby bout, team members say it’s a great spectator sport. Fans sit just yards from the action. While it may take a game or two to catch on to the strategy, programs provide information on the basic rules and scoring. […]

  • Gloves, garbage bags and grubby clothes: Community cleanup organized for Wheeler Wildlife Refuge

    MADISON COUNTY, Ala (WHNT) – At 35,000 acres, Wheeler Wildlife Refuge is the largest wildlife refuge in Alabama.  Encompassing both sides of the Tennessee River, it stretches from Huntsville to Decatur. For the last 76 years, the area has protected migrating waterfowl, along with endangered and threatened species. However, Wheeler Wildlife Refuge is also quite popular with people. An estimated 700,000 people visit annually to fish, camp, kayak and bird-watch. Unfortunately, the outdoorsman’s adage of “take only pictures, leave only […]

  • Huntsville, Madison, Madison County law enforcement receive tactical first aid kits

    Huntsville, Madison, Madison County patrol cars getting potentially life-saving supplies

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville Hospital officials announced Wednesday morning they were using a $46,500 grant from the Madison County Legislative Delegation to buy tactical first-aid kits for Huntsville, Madison and Madison County law enforcement officers. The two police departments and sheriff’s department have a combined total of approximately 600 patrol cars. Each car will get one kit. The kits go far beyond basic first-aid supplies. The supplies include a combat application tourniquet, a special gauze that promotes rapid clotting to stop […]

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    Prayers, donations, time – Downtown Rescue Mission could use it all

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala (WHNT) – The Downtown Rescue Mission is setting a record most local restaurants would envy. The Christian ministry is on track to serve 300,000 meals this year. That’s around 600 meals a day. The mission also houses approximately 250 people a night. Of course, these are the kinds of records the organization would rather not set. However, the increasing numbers have become almost predictable. Over the last few years, the agency has seen an annual increase of 15-20% in demand […]

  • Torch Technologies CEO Bill Roark and his employees present a $150,000 check to the Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County

    Huntsville company donates $150,000 to help community

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A Huntsville company has donated $150,000 to help establish a new community fund. Torch Technologies made the announcement during a check presentation Thursday to the Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County. Stuart Obermann, president of the Community Foundation, says the money will enable the creation of the Community Catalyst Fund, a perpetual endowment. Since being established in 2009, the foundation has distributed $3.4 million to deserving programs in the Madison County area. However, foundation leaders wanted a way to […]


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