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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
  • Traci and Ron DeWeese

    “Run for Ron” a show of support for Priceville’s assistant police chief

    PRICEVILLE, Ala. – It’s been less than three weeks since Priceville Assistant Police Chief Ron DeWeese suffered a stroke while on-duty. He was flown to Huntsville Hospital but the next day, he took a turn for the worse. Doctors discovered a blood clot in his brain and surgery was performed. It was a risky procedure but DeWeese not only survived, his rapid improvement led some hospital staff to call him a miracle. Six days after the initial stroke, he returned […]

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    Around 600 athletes participate in Special Olympics competition in Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Around 600 athletes competed at Milton Frank Stadium Tuesday in the North Alabama Special Olympics Track and Field events. Now in its 49th year, the competition showcases the positive benefits of sport for all athletes. Competitors, ranging in age from 8 to 65, participated in the following events: running and standing long jump, softball throw, 20 meter walk, 100 meter dash, 50 meter dash, 200 meter run, shotput, 50 meter assisted walk and wheelchair-pushed. The athletes represented Madison City Schools, […]

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    With hundreds of guns turning up at airport security, TSA working to educate passengers about firearm travel rules

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. = The Transportation Security Administration is trying to raise awareness among passengers about the proper way to fly with firearms. Already this year, 12 guns have been found by security at Huntsville International Airport. That’s compared to two in all of 2015. The increase seems to be part of a rising trend taking place at airports across the country. TSA officials say passengers should never attempt to bring their firearms in their carry-on luggage. According to the agency, […]

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    Calling all cattle farmers: meetings to address hay shortage coming up

    MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – The small amount of rain that fell over the Tennessee Valley Thursday did nothing to help area farmers. Cattle farmers, in particular, are facing a difficult winter, says Josh Melson with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Melson is the Lawrence County extension coordinator. He says, “it’s going to be some tough times ahead and we need to be proactive in the education process to our farmers.” Cattle rely heavily on hay for winter feed. The drought […]

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    Huntsville’s faith community coming together to tackle tough issues, such as mass incarceration

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – It’s been one year since the grassroots organization, Faith in Action Alabama, formed. The stated goal: ” a statewide grassroots interfaith, interracial faith-rooted organization that will build and wield power that leads to bold public decisions at the local and state levels that honor the dignity of all of God’s children.” With 60 member congregations in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery, the group is off to a strong start. Fifteen of those congregations are in the Huntsville […]

  • UPS driver Gary Pitman is one of four Circle of Honor recipients at the Hartselle service center

    The Distracted Driving Project: UPS drivers share safety tips for the rest of us

    UPS delivers more than 18 million packages a day, most of them by truck. So, as you might imagine, driver safety is key to the company. As part of WHNT News 19’s continued commitment to end distracted driving in the Tennessee Valley, we’re taking action to share some safety tips from the world’s largest delivery service. We started by interviewing UPS Global Fleet Safety Director Emilio Lopez. He’s responsible for 100,000 drivers around the world and says today’s policies reflect today’s reality. “Society, we […]

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    Drought having an impact on the local Christmas tree crop

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – There are thousands of trees at Valley Christmas Tree Plantation in Huntsville – from Virginia Pines to White Pines, Leyland Cypress to Arizona Cypress. Owner George Brown works year-round to ensure his customers can select the perfect tree for their homes, each holiday season. Brown has more than 40 years experience growing Christmas trees. Many of the parents, bringing their children to his choose-and-cut farm, started coming as children, themselves. But this year, the drought may mean those […]

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    Annual “Blanket & Cold Weather Gear” drive starts October 5

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The North Alabama Coalition for the Homeless is once again collecting blankets and cold weather gear for the most vulnerable members of our community. The drive starts Wednesday, October 5th. NACH will be collecting: Sleeping bags Blankets Coats/Jackets Gloves/Socks Thermal Underwear Warm Hats/Toboggans Sweatshirts/pants Scarves Items may be gently used or new. Adult sizes only, please. Donations may be dropped off at: HUNTSVILLE Progressive Union Missionary Baptist Church, 1919 Brandon Town Road St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 8020 Whitesburg […]

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    Students packing meals to help stop hunger

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Monday afternoon, a gym at Randolph School was filled with 73 excited fifth-graders. The students had gathered to pack meals for Stop Hunger Now, a non-profit humanitarian relief organization. Since 1998, the group has provided 200 million meals to people in 71 countries. In just about two hours, the students ensured another 10,000 could be added to the total. Student Josey Fann said she and her friends were glad to participate. “It makes me feel good in […]

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    AT&T Fiber coming to the Huntsville/Madison area

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – AT&T Alabama says AT&T Fiber is coming to the Greater Huntsville area, including parts of Madison. Eligible customers and small businesses can connect to a 1 gigabit internet connection on AT&T’s 100% fiber network. The Huntsville area is one of 67 large cities where AT&T Fiber service is available. AT&T Alabama President Fred McCallum made the announcement Tuesday at the AT&T/DirecTV Center on Diamond Drive. “We are proud to deliver AT&T’s fastest internet to our customers in […]

  • Evans Florist in Hartselle

    UPDATE: Good Samaritan caught on surveillance camera helping Hartselle store owner identified

    HARTSELLE, Ala. – Jackey Lokey started working at Evans Florist in 1975. She’s owned the business for more than 25 years. She is both well-known and well-liked in her little corner of downtown on Sparkman Street. Last Monday, she stopped in to visit with her neighbors at Copeland’s Classic Cleaners. But as the 81-year-old walked the short distance back to the entrance of Evans Florist, her foot caught the edge of a parking curb and she tripped, falling face-first onto the hard parking lot. Surveillance […]

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    “Human Chain” event to make a stand against domestic violence, October 2

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – For 10 years, AshaKiran has been working to help foreign-born nationals in crises, “such as domestic violence and sexual assault, by providing specific culturally sensitive services.” The non-profit, headquartered in Huntsville, operates an emergency shelter and a 24-hour crisis “Hope-Line.” The organization also offers training workshops to first-responders , health and legal professionals, other shelters and community groups – anyone interested in learning how to better assist those facing language and cultural barriers to service. As part of […]