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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
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    How you can help teachers remain “Free 2 Teach” and students, free to learn

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Most school supply drives end in August but as any teacher can tell you, the needs continue throughout the school year. By the end of September, crayons are starting to dull, glue sticks are drying up and notebooks are being filled. So, what’s a teacher to do? Use personal money to re-stock supplies for students or dip into those precious classroom funds? For more than 3,000 Huntsville, Madison and Madison County teachers, there’s another option. Free 2 Teach […]

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    Driving on to Brindlee Mountain High School

    MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. – The Distracted Driving Project is racking up the miles. After visiting Collinsville High School Wednesday, it was on to Brindlee Mountain High School, home of the Lions. About a hundred freshmen and sophomores at the Marshall County school attended our second distracted driving presentation. Attorney Joe King, one of our partners from Morris, King and Hodge, looked at the risks and consequences of distracted driving. The students had some great ideas for ways they can avoid […]

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    WHNT News 19 and Morris, King and Hodge take the Distracted Driving Project to area schools

    COLLINSVILLE, Ala. – For months, WHNT News 19 and our partners at Morris, King and Hodge, have been raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Now, we’ve taken the show on the road. Wednesday, attorney Joe King and Melissa Riopka gave our first school presentation at Collinsville High in Dekalb County. About 100 sophomores, juniors and seniors attended. It was a great group and we were really encouraged by the response. The presentation looked at the risks and consequences of distracted […]

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    Clean out your closet, help a high school student with the Homecoming Dress and Suit Drive

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Got a suit that’s a little too snug? Maybe a cocktail dress stuck in the back of the closet? The non-profit, H.O.P.E., hopes you’ll donate them to area students through the Homecoming Dress and Suit Drive. H.O.P.E. stands for Humans Optimizing Personal Empowerment. Board chair Tammara Buckley says the drive is being organized to benefit Jemison High. Students will have the opportunity to select clothes, shoes and accessories in a “boutique” that will be set up October 8th […]

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    Know a girl looking for a role model? Visit Lowe Mill Saturday, September 17

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – On Saturday, September 17, seven leading community women will take part in the first Celebration of Female Role Models. The free event, geared to pre-teen and teen girls but open to anyone, is from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Lowe Mill. The women, representing a variety of fields from science to music, will each speak for 30 minutes. They’ll also be available to talk one-on-one. The organizers are themselves teenagers. Ariana Smartt and Margaret Foster, both 15, are sophomores at […]

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    Calling all Alabama high school seniors: Driver Safety Scholarship available

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. is once again sponsoring its Driver Safety Scholarship program. This is the third year for the program. Submissions to the essay contest are now being accepted from Alabama high school seniors and freshmen enrolled in Alabama colleges or universities. Three finalists will be selected in May. First place is a $2,000 scholarship. Second place is $1,200. Third place is $1,000. The original essays must be at least 1,000 words, explaining the dangers […]

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    Tennessee Highway Patrol gets tough on distracted driving

    FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. – A grant from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office recently funded a distracted driving simulator for Lincoln County, one of about 10 in the middle Tennessee region. The simulators are just one way the Tennessee Highway Patrol is working to stop distracted driving in the state. Tony Burnett, law enforcement liaison for the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, says, “in Tennessee, we’re doing all we can. “One of the things we’re doing is public education through commercials about distracted driving,” […]

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    Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department unveils distracted driving simulator

    FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. – The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department takes distracted driving seriously. Now, the agency has a new tool in the fight. One that’s unlike anything else in the Tennessee Valley. The sheriff’s department applied for, and received, a grant to buy a distracted driving simulator. While there are around 10 simulators in the Middle Tennessee region, this is the first one in the Tennessee Valley. Attending Tuesday’s unveiling, Tony Burnett was impressed. Burnett is the law enforcement liaison for the […]

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    Free Identity Theft Conference offered Tuesday

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Articles and tips to prevent identity theft are almost as common as the crime itself. From phone scams to cyber hacks, no one is immune, while advice seems to be everywhere. However, if you’ve ever wondered how some top experts protect themselves, now is your chance to find out. On Tuesday, September 6th, InfraGard will present a free identity theft conference in Huntsville. InfraGard is a partnership between the FBI and the private sector.  Membership is free and […]

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    School Daze: the danger of distracted driving in school zones

    MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Twice a day, Jeff Road just might be the busiest road in Madison County. With four schools in a three-mile stretch, mornings and afternoons can be chaotic, to say the least. Madison County sheriff’s deputies are there to watch the traffic and the crosswalks. But, they also see something else – far too many people, driving distracted. We recently met up with Deputy Brian Smith who told us, “on the way over here, I watched three parents…with their phones […]

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    “Turkey Dogs” finding new future in Alabama

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – With their gentle disposition and playful attitude, golden retrievers are consistently ranked one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. They have also been extremely popular in Turkey, where Lorraine Donald says, “people looked at golden retrievers as a status symbol.” But as the breed falls out of favor, thousands of these dogs have been abandoned on the streets of Istanbul. Unfortunately, the same characteristics that make the dogs such good family pets make them […]

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    Let’s Talk: A Distracted Driving conversation

    MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – School has been back in session for a couple of weeks now. School zones are once again jammed on weekday mornings and afternoons. Parents in a rush to drop off or pick up. High school students running late to class or in a hurry to get out. As part of our Distracted Driving Project, WHNT News 19, Joe King of Morris, King, & Hodge, and Sgt. Brent Patterson of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office were at Sparkman […]