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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
  • Brig. Gen. Edward Daly speaks at Columbia High's 2014 JROTC Career Day

    Columbia High students learn about life in the military

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Columbia High School held its fourth annual JROTC Career Day Friday. Hundreds of students had the opportunity to learn more about life in the military. The guest speaker was Brigadier General Edward Daly. The Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army Materiel Command encouraged the students to make a plan, set goals and work hard – whatever they choose to do in life. While many students were still undecided about the future, at least two said […]

  • Matt Jones, FSU student

    FSU student from Lauderdale County recounts moments after campus shooting

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WHNT) – Matt Jones of Rogersville is in his first semester as a graduate student at Florida State University. Wednesday evening, he went to Stozier Library to work on a paper. After about five hours, he decided to call it a night. Shortly before midnight, he left the library and walked across Landis Green to a friend’s apartment. About 20 minutes later, “we heard this loud noise, a couple of loud noises and I thought it was fireworks…that was my initial […]

  • Regional diplomacy summit teaches millenials how to engage in a global world

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – For the first time in eight years, the International Services Council of Alabama hosted a regional summit. The “Diplomacy Begins Here” summit was unique in that it focused on millenials – those born between 1980 and the early 2000s. High school students, college students and young professionals were invited to attend the event Wednesday in Huntsville, which included a speaker from the U.S. Department of State, Rick Ruth. Ruth believes the millenial generation brings a particular skill-set to the diplomatic […]

  • As veteran unemployment rises, military job fair offers help and hope

    REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) – Resumes in hand, dozens of men and women milled around business representatives taking part in Tuesday’s job fair at Redstone Arsenal. Presented by CivilianJobs.com and sponsored by Redstone Arsenal’s Transition Assistance Program, the job fair included a mix of Fortune 500 and local companies. The hiring event for veterans and transitioning military members came at an opportune time.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported a slight rise in veteran unemployment rates. Unemployment for post 9/11 veterans rose […]

  • GEO-Energy Summit brings national intelligence officials to Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The 2014 GEO-Energy Summit began in Huntsville Wednesday. More than 200 people are attending the two-day event at the Davidson Center. With this year’s focus on energy independence and national security, organizers were excited to have Robert Cardillo, director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, as the keynote speaker. In his address, Cardillo called Huntsville a “national security asset.” He praised the work being done in North Alabama to develop the geospatial technologies needed to obtain precise aerial imagery. These […]

  • homeless7

    Homeless Coalition asks for donations of blankets, coats; groups to discuss warming centers

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The North Alabama Coalition for the Homeless will meet Thursday afternoon to plan for an emergency warming center in the Huntsville area. Executive Director Lineise Arnold says one church has already been identified that is willing to help. However, other church leaders who are interested in having their buildings used as temporary shelters are asked to attend the meeting at 2 p.m. at the Family Services Center in Huntsville. Another way to help is through the Annual Winter […]

  • The ties that bind; area veterans find companionship, peace in fly-fishing

    MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – On Veterans Day, the bands will play and the flags will fly. But on the Monday before Veterans Day it was the flies that were flying at the lake on Madison County’s Green Mountain. More than a dozen veterans gathered to tie flies and fly-fish during the outing organized by the local chapter of Project Healing Waters. The organization offers free fishing lessons and trips to disabled veterans. This will likely be the group’s last trip before […]

  • 2013 Veterans Day assembly at Buckhorn High School

    Buckhorn High dedicates memorial wall in honor of veterans

    MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – With schools closed for Veterans Day Tuesday, students across the Tennessee Valley are holding special programs today. One such recognition took place at Buckhorn High School in Madison County. The school observed its 22nd Annual Veterans Day Celebration with a full schedule of events Monday, culminating in a school-wide assembly. The day began with a breakfast for veterans hosted by the school’s culinary class. Following breakfast, the veterans were escorted to a ceremony in front of Buckhorn High’s new […]

  • Photo by Carson Clark

    With more cold weather on the way, firefighters urge home heating safety

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Temperatures will be dropping next week around the Tennessee Valley, as what may be the coldest air of the year moves into the area. That has firefighters on alert. When asked what concerns him most about the cold weather, Huntsville Fire Captain Frank McKenzie responded without hesitation, “space heaters.” The small, portable appliances can be a cheap and easy way to warm a room. However, improper use can be deadly. The Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office recommends the following […]

  • Courtesy: Joe Walters

    Alzheimer’s: The health battle we are losing & the war they hope to win

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The numbers tell the story. We are losing the battle against Alzheimer’s. While deaths due to many other health conditions are declining, Alzheimer’s rates are skyrocketing. More than 5 million Americans are currently living with the disease, for which there is no prevention and no cure. If one is not found, experts estimate the number of cases will triple by 2050. Not only is Alzheimer’s terminal, it is progressive. While most patients suffer four to six years before death, […]

  • L to R: New Huntsville school board members Elisa Ferrell, Beth Wilder and Walker McGinnis

    Huntsville’s new school board members sworn in

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s official — there’s a new board in charge of Huntsville City Schools.  Three new members were sworn in Monday morning during a ceremony at the Merts Center. Beth Wilder took over for District 2, Elisa Ferrell was installed for District 3 and Walker McGinnis took the seat for District 4. The board also elected new leadership, choosing Mike Culbreath as Vice President and Laurie McCaulley as President. We spoke with McCaulley about some of the challenges […]

  • Courtesy: Radial Fest 2K14

    “Hot Wheels” in Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – They are sleek. They are loud. They are very, very fast. Some of the world’s fastest cars on street legal tires are in Huntsville this weekend. The Huntsville Dragway is hosting Radial Fest Friday and Saturday. It’s the first event of its kind for the facility. Teams from across the country will put their cars to the test, reaching speeds of more than 190mph on the 1/8 mile long concrete drag strip. If you’d like to check […]


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