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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

Recent Articles
  • Jules Berta tends to one of the plants at his Albertville vineyard

    Northeast Alabama’s reputation as ‘wine country’ is growing

    ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Move over Napa Valley. Northeast Alabama is ripe for success. That’s according to many in the wine industry, who say this section of the state is perfect for growing grapes. Jules Berta, of Jules J. Berta Vineyards, would certainly agree. In 1983, his father bought a few acres of land off Highway 431 in Albertville, where he could plant some grape vines. “This was just a hobby and it turned into an obsession and then, it turned […]

  • Volunteers spend day making improvements to state veterans home

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – About 150 veterans from across North Alabama live at Floyd E. ‘Tut’ Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville. In honor of their service, several dozen Lowe’s employees spent Tuesday working on home improvement projects around the property. The managers of the five Huntsville-area stores coordinated the effort. Manager Pete Anderson said, “with state budgets being what they are and federal budgets being what they are, this is an opportunity for us to give back to our community and […]

  • Organizers announce Big Spring Crush to return Saturday, September 26

    Big Spring Crush wine festival to return to downtown Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Big Spring Crush will return to downtown Huntsville Saturday, September 26. The wine festival, which debuted in 2014, is a signature event of Homegrown LLC. Organizers have announced they intend to make it an annual event. Last year, tickets sold out a week before the festival. This year, 2,500 tickets will be sold. General admission grants access to the festival in Big Spring Park East, a commemorative tasting glass and unlimited wine tastings. There will be more than […]

  • From small beginnings to big changes, Whitesburg Animal Hospital celebrates 30 years

      HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Whitesburg Animal Hospital is celebrating its 30th anniversary with an open house Saturday, June 13. From noon until 5pm, everyone is invited to the clinic at 8407 Whitesburg Drive. There will be free food, games, a children’s play area, prizes and live entertainment. Visitors are also invited to meet the staff and tour the clinic, which recently underwent a major renovation. It’s the fourth renovation for the practice, opened by Dr. Mark Russell in 1985. In […]

  • Free putt putt returns to Downtown Huntsville Friday

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Back by popular demand, it’s the Downtown Open. The 26 custom-designed putt putt holes, surrounding Huntsville’s historic Courthouse Square, will open to the public Friday, June 12. It’s free to play. Putters and golf balls are available at Harrison Brothers Hardware and Sam and Greg’s Pizzeria. The course will remain open through Sunday, June 28. This is the second year for the Downtown Open and there are a couple of special events planned. On Tuesday, June 16 from 10am […]

  • High school students in the CollegeFirst program prepare for AP Biology

    Students brush up on skills in CollegeFirst Institute at UAH

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – More than 70 high school students from Huntsville, Madison, Madison County and Marshall County are at UAH this month for the 6th annual CollegeFirst Advanced Placement Institute. The summer enrichment program is designed to better prepare students for advanced placement classes in math, science and English. It started Monday and lasts three weeks. Students are exposed to lectures and lab work. They also have a chance to tour the campus and learn more about the college […]

  • Thirteen area non-profits received grants from Huntsville Hospital's Community Health Initiative

    Non-profit health care programs receive $500,000 in grants

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – More than a dozen Huntsville-area non-profit organizations received grants totaling $500,000 Tuesday. The grants came from the Community Health Initiative of Huntsville Hospital. Each year, a CHI committee determines a list of award recipients. Here’s a look at the 2015 grant winners: AMBUCS ($3,000) – provides therapeutic tricycles to children and others with disabilities, enhancing their mobility, fitness and independence. The Arc of Madison County, Inc. ($20,000) – provides education, job-skills training and support services to […]

  • Alabama launches “Zero Addiction” program, adding state support to local efforts

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) – Alabama is recognized as having one of the highest prescription drug abuse rates in the country. Now, state leaders are trying to do something to change that. Governor Robert Bentley announced a new campaign Monday called Zero Addiction. Funded by a federal grant through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the education campaign provides resources to prescription drug addicts and their loved ones. There’s also an online tool people can use to report concerns about prescription drug […]

  • Downtown Huntsville’s Friday Night Art Walk begins tonight

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville’s summer arts market returns this evening, with a few changes. The event has gotten a new night, a new name and a new location. It started in 2006 as the Sidewalk Arts Stroll, a monthly event held on Thursdays at Constitution Village. It’s now the Friday Night Art Walk, on the first and fourth Fridays at Courthouse Square. Each market will be open from 5-8pm. The season will run through August. Downtown Huntsville Inc CEO Chad […]

  • Days of Action campaign begins in Madison County, volunteer opportunities still available

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The United Way of Madison County began its annual Days of Action Campaign Wednesday. Over the course of four days, volunteers will work at 24 events throughout the service area. Many of the volunteer opportunities require no specialized skills. Some are even open to young children, enabling entire families to volunteer together. Although the campaign has already begun, it’s not too late to sign up. You can find a list of opportunities here. The campaign ends with […]

  • Area teens participated in the Huntsville Housing Authority's summer job fair Tuesday

    Huntsville Housing Authority helping young people connect with employers

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Huntsville Housing Authority is building on its “All Lives Matter” campaign with a summer jobs initiative. The campaign began in January as a response to the violence in Ferguson, Missouri. It was the housing authority’s proactive approach to improving police-community relations. In March, HHA hosted a basketball tournament that introduced teens to some of the officers in the Huntsville Police Department. HHA Executive Director Michael Lundy said, “out of that, what the kids said to us was […]

  • Huntsville Utilities linemen at work on Hwy 53

    Keeping the lights on: Alabama linemen work dangerous, yet vital job

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Following a 2014 joint resolution by the state legislature, the first Monday in June is Alabama Linemen Appreciation Day. For the second year in a row, the occasion was marked by a ceremony in Montgomery. Meanwhile, line crews with Huntsville Utilities were hard at work. As HU Line Supervisor Shane Scott explains, “it’s a 24 hour a day, seven day a week job.” It’s also inherently dangerous, although utility officials stress safety comes first. That means prospective […]


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