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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
  • Lori Mobbs with her 1996 Ford Ranger pickup

    Journey to a Job: Army vet seeks a little help to get where she’s going

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Parked outside the Alabama Career Center, you can see Lori Mobbs’ 1996 Ford Ranger pickup has quite a few miles on it. Just how many miles, she’s not sure. “The odometer’s quit working,” she says with a laugh. Unfortunately, the truck is her only form of transportation and she has a big trip coming up. Mobbs, a disabled Army veteran who lives in Cedar Bluff, Alabama, has been offered a job with the National Park Service […]

  • (Image: MGN Online)

    Alzheimer’s Association working to connect with north Alabama doctors through free conference

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – In an effort to connect with more north Alabama doctors, the Huntsville office of the Alzheimer’s Association is hosting its first physicians conference. Brandi Medina is organizing the event and says, “I have families come in. They really need their physicians to be able to give them the links to all the different community resources… that they’re going to need after a diagnosis like Alzheimer’s.” At the conference, scheduled for Friday, May 15, doctors will learn more […]

  • Clare Johnson practices her routine under the eye of Coach Nuno Merino at Matrix Gym

    Two locals to represent US at Pan Am Games

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – When the 2015 Pan Am Games are held in Toronto in July, two locals will be there.  Clare Johnson is one of just four athletes selected to represent the US in trampoline. Her coach, Nuno Merino, is one of only two coaches chosen to attend. On most days, you’ll find both Johnson and Merino hard at work inside The Matrix Gym in Huntsville.  At 17, Clare has been competing in trampoline most of her life. Although the sport is […]

  • A new app claims to help social media users avoid online embarrassment

    In the Clear? New app promises to clean up regrettable social media posts

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Ever post something you later regretted?  A new app, called Clear, promises to help users avoid online embarrassment by flagging any negative social media posts. According to the Clear website, the app analyzes posts for questionable content using its own algorithms as well as the IBM Watson® supercomputer. Users can then immediately delete the flagged posts through the app, without having to scroll through pages of old posts. While the app is marketed to any social media […]

  • Digital Kidnapping: Madison family finds their child targeted by online photo thief

    MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – A disturbing new trend is spreading across social media. People on social media are stealing photos of other people’s children. It’s called “digital kidnapping.” The term “digital kidnapping” may seem embellished to some, but the victims who have pictures of their children stolen are left wondering why someone would do this — and what else are they capable of? Denise DeRosa is with the Family Online Safety Institute, a global non-profit that advocates for a safer internet. As she […]

  • Area students participate in a STEAM activity at Panoply 2015

    Full STEAM ahead at Panoply

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Many school systems are increasing their focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education these days. Organizers of Panoply want to put a little STEAM into STEM, adding a dash of arts education to the mix. For the 33rd annual event, Huntsville’s largest community arts festival will include eight STEAM interactive exhibits. At one exhibit called Wonder Vision, festival goers are encouraged to rub a pencil with two Panoply-themed pictures on it between their palms. The movement creates an […]

  • The Greenpower team from Whitesburg P-8 practices for Saturday's race

    Huntsville City Schools’ Greenpower Race moved to Sunday

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – This weekend, students from all over the Huntsville City School System will start their engines, as Grissom High School hosts the first Greenpower race in the U.S. NOTE: The race has been moved to Sunday, April 26 due to weather concerns (it was initally scheduled for Saturday.) It will be held Sunday from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m. Greenpower calls for student teams to build a single-seat, electric car. Each team uses the same kind of battery and […]

  • This hummingbird scene is one of 14 LEGO vignettes at Huntsville Botanical Garden

    Giant LEGO sculptures take over Huntsville Botanical Garden

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Giant butterflies, huge hummingbirds and a 7-foot tall rose.  These are just some of the sculptures on display in a larger than life exhibit at Huntsville Botanical Garden. It’s called Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks by Sean Kenney.  Kenney, who is based out of Brooklyn, New York, is one of only 11 LEGO certified artists. The exhibit, one of four in a series, consists of 27 sculptures in 14 vignettes.  It opens Friday, April 24 and […]

  • Esther's Closet is again offering free prom dresses to Madison County students in need

    Esther’s Closet helps provide free prom dresses, shoes for young women in need

    NEW HOPE, Ala. (WHNT) – Prom season is here and one local ministry is working to make sure young women who want to attend have the chance. Esther’s Closet is part of the CARE Center, a ministry offering crisis intervention and other services in the New Hope area of Madison County. It was started in 2010 by a group of high school girls at Cove United Methodist Church. Esther’s Closet provides gently used prom dresses, shoes and jewelry to high school girls in need.  Everything […]

  • Heather and Jeff Baggett own Cottage Crepes, one of Huntsville's newest food trucks

    Huntsville’s 2015 Street Food Season starts tonight

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The counters are polished. The trucks fully stocked. The road blocked off.  Everything is in place for the start of the 2015 Street Food Season in Downtown Huntsville. The first rally will be from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, April 16 on Church Street by Big Spring Park.  More than 30 food trucks and vendors are participating. The season will run through October, with the gatherings taking place on the third Friday of each month. There will also be […]

  • Sign unveiled for New Bailey Cove Library

    Campaign for new library in south Huntsville reaches funding milestone

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Some of the most influential people in Huntsville and Madison County gathered outside Grissom High School Wednesday morning. Together, they unveiled a sign proclaiming the site of the New Bailey Cove Library the “Educational and Social Heart of South Huntsville.” The project has garnered the support of Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski, Madison County Commissioner Phil Riddick and Commission Chairman Dale Strong, just to name a few. The new $8.4 […]

  • Counting the cost of child abuse in Alabama

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) – A new report released Wednesday at the State House highlights the high cost of child abuse in Alabama. The study was conducted by University of Alabama researchers working in conjunction with state officials and children’s advocates.  It found the direct cost of child abuse to the state is $2.3 billion annually. When the indirect costs to families and communities are included, the full impact could be two to three times higher. “There is no question that Alabama should invest […]

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