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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
  • Murder defendant removed from court; case sent to Madison County grand jury

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Madison County District Court Judge Alison Austin ruled Wednesday there was enough probable cause to send Clarence Fearn’s murder case to a grand jury. Fearn was arrested in July, ending a nearly five-year investigation into the shooting death of his stepfather, George Woodard. Woodard was killed on September 30, 2009, in the driveway of his home on Debbie Boulevard in Madison County. It happened around 5:30 a.m., as he was leaving for his job at the Toyota […]

  • Santa’s Helpers could use a little help this Christmas

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A parent unexpectedly loses a job. A fire leaves a family with nothing. A sudden illness wipes out meager savings. When these things happen, Christmas lists can become impossible to fill. That’s where Santa’s Helpers comes in. The charity, founded by Barbara Thomas and her husband seven years ago, provides gifts to children in the Madison County area who have fallen through the cracks of other holiday support services. “We’re a last-stop effort,” Thomas says. When Thomas hears about a family who […]

  • Huntsville's first "Street Food Season" ends Friday

    Huntsville’s first “Street Food Season” ends with food trucks on a roll

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Last summer, there were seven food trucks operating in the city of Huntsville. Today, there are more than triple that number. Huntsville’s food truck revolution started with a 2013 change in city ordinance that allowed the trucks to sell downtown, but it exploded with the introduction of the “2014 Street Food Season.” In April, the city held the first food truck rally. It was met by huge crowds, hungry for a new dining experience. Since then, organizers estimate […]

  • Look at what’s popping in Downtown Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Downtown Pop Up Experience is back and bigger than before. Designers put the finishing touches on their tiny, temporary parks in Downtown Huntsville Thursday. Downtown Huntsville Inc. CEO Chad Emerson says the event’s sophomore year includes a few additional entries, bringing the total number of parks to twelve. The parks, which are set up in parking places around the historic Courthouse Square area, will be on display through October 26th. Last year’s event  lasted just three days. The only rule […]

  • U.S. flag (WHNT File)

    Free military transition workshop going on Friday

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – On Friday, October 17, transitioning and recently separated military members can attend a free workshop in Huntsville. The workshop, offered by NMR Consulting and Still Serving Veterans, will provide free resume writing assistance, interview preparation and online profile creation and/or revision. It’s scheduled for 9:00 a.m. -4:30 p.m. at Redstone Federal Credit Union on Wynn Drive in Huntsville. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Registration is required. Those interested in attending should contact Cory Thacker at […]

  • post office

    Huntsville mail carriers recognized for driving millions of miles, accident-free

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Two-dozen Huntsville mail carriers were recognized Thursday morning for their outstanding safety records. The US Postal Service honored 21 employees for logging one-million miles without an accident. Three employees, each with decades of service to the USPS, received awards for traveling two-million accident-free miles on their routes. Larry Worley has been with the USPS for nearly 55 years. He’s had the same South Huntsville route for almost 50 years. For him, it’s more than just a job. “I’ve […]

  • belk480

    Crowd of shoppers ready for Belk’s opening at Bridge Street

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – After months of planning and construction, the new Belk flagship store opened Wednesday morning at Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville. The ribbon-cutting was at 9:30 a.m. and the store opened at 10:00 a.m.  A huge crowd bustled through the doors, with the first 600 guests receiving free Belk gift cards ranging in value from $5 to $500. Designer Cynthia Rowley also hosted a fashion show at 11:00 a.m. The $20 million Belk is a two-level, 170,000 square-foot, […]

  • “Promote the Vote” at UAHuntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Students at UAHuntsville had the opportunity to grab some free pizza, win prizes and – register to vote – at Tuesday’s “Promote the Vote” event. The voter registration drive was organized by Leadership Huntsville/Madison County’s Connect Class 17 in response to a survey of UAHuntsville and Calhoun Community College students. “We have elections coming up November 4th, and a large majority of students that we surveyed here didn’t even know about it,” said Claire Johnson, one of […]

  • Deer

    As bow season opens, deer hunters asked to pass on collared deer

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) – As bow season opens in Alabama, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is asking hunters to take a pass on any deer wearing an orange collar. The collared deer are part of a research project between the department and Auburn University. Researchers hope to learn more about the movement of adult white-tailed deer and their survival rates. The data collected with help guide future deer management decisions. Deer in the following locations have been fitted with collars: […]

  • Healing Hearts, Sharing Hope: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day returns to Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – On Sunday, families will gather at Huntsville Hospital’s Corporate University for a ceremony honoring babies loved and lost. The event is in recognition of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It’s the 5th year for the Huntsville ceremony. This year’s theme is “Hope.” October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, as ordered by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. A proclamation was later issued, naming October 15th a day of awareness. The Huntsville event is scheduled for 3:00 p.m., […]

  • Analysts expect prices at the pump to continue dropping

    How low can they go? Gas prices expected to keep dropping

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The start of fall means gas prices have begun falling. Even better news for Tennessee Valley drivers? Some of the lowest prices in the country can be found in Alabama and Tennessee. AAA, the largest leisure travel organization in North America, tracks gas prices through a daily fuel gauge report. On Monday, the report showed the statewide average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Alabama was $3.01. Tennessee was at $2.99. Both were far […]

  • Huntsville/Decatur area students now have chance to compete in sport of mountain biking

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Competitive mountain bike teams are coming to the Tennessee Valley. This year, Alabama became one of 16 states in the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). Now, the Huntsville NICA Committee is working to establish teams in this area. Buckhorn High School in Madison County has already committed to having a team. Middle school students will also be able to participate. A meeting for those parents and children is set for Monday, October 20th at 6:30 p.m. […]


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