Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, killed in a helicopter crash in California

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 this Morning with Steve Johnson.

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
  • Looking back, looking ahead with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – For many, this is a season of reflection. A chance to look back at the previous year’s struggles and successes, while also looking ahead to opportunities in the coming year. As we get ready to say goodbye to 2019 and welcome a new decade, we sat down with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle to get his thoughts on everything from economic development to road construction to the urban living model to high-speed rail. Here’s some of what the […]

  • Pond Spring Invites Patrons to Stroll Through a Christmas Past

    LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. – Pond Spring: The Home of General Joe Wheeler announces a new holiday tour series. “Christmas at Home” celebrates the season and history of Pond Spring. These special tours will take place on select Sundays in December: December 1, December 8, and December 15. Tours will reflect on Christmas traditions throughout the years, like the Victorian practice of introducing evergreen trees into homes during the winter. Visitors can explore the grounds at Pond Spring with a “Reindeer […]

  • SAFY of Alabama working to support children in foster care

    For 35 years, Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY) of America has strengthened families and communities through therapeutic foster care, behavioral health, adoption, family preservation, and older youth services. SAFY focuses on helping children achieve permanency, safety, well-being and self-sufficiency. The SAFY model of care provides coordinated services that are community-based, accessible, culturally respectful and responsive to family needs. One in 184 children in the U.S. are in the foster care system, meaning a child enters care every two […]

  • Tickets on sale now for Huntsville Championship

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Tickets for the Huntsville Championship are now on sale. The Huntsville Championship is a new Korn Ferry Tour event taking place at The Ledges April 20-26, 2020. Fans can choose from a variety of ticket types based on their preferred tournament experience. Tickets start at $10 for daily grounds admission and weekly passes are available for fans looking to experience the entire tournament weekend. Upgraded hospitality options are also available. Located near the 10th tee and The […]

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reinder: The Musical is part of “A Country Christmas” at Gaylord Opryland

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season at the Grand Ole Opry House. You can see all your favorite characters from the beloved TV classic come to life including, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph. The 90-minute show, which runs November 16-December 27, is part of Gaylord Opryland’s A Country Christmas. Ticket prices start at […]

  • Free events for caregivers in North Alabama to mark National Caregiver Appreciation Month

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – November is recognized as National Caregiver Appreciation Month, a month-long tribute to recognize those individuals providing caregiving support to a family member or loved one. In an effort to honor and support family caregivers, TARCOG Area Agency on Aging, Alabama Lifespan Respite and AARP are hosting a series of Caregiver Appreciation Events across North Alabama during the month of November. These free events are intended to educate family caregivers on ways they can relieve stress, utilize respite […]

  • Huntsville Gem, Jewelry and Mineral Show returns October 11-13, 2019

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The largest gem and mineral show in North Alabama returns October 11-13, 2019. Located at the Jaycee Community Building, 2180 Airport Road, the Huntsville Gem, Jewelry and Mineral Show will have something for everyone – from serious collectors to hobbyists and beginner rockhounds. There will be dealers with a wide variety of minerals, crystals, jewelry, lapidary, rock-hunting supplies and more for sale. Visitors can also enjoy demonstrations and displays, along with a mining flume and fluorescent room. […]

  • Services for Florence school board member set for Tuesday, Wednesday

    Florence, Ala. – Services for Florence school board member William “Bill” Gullett will take place Tuesday and Wednesday. Gullett passed away Friday, October 4, 2019 at the age of 58, following a health issue. A native of Florence, he graduated from Bradshaw High School in 1979 and was an active member of many community and civic organizations, as well as a  founding member of the Florence Education Foundation. He was elected twice to Florence school board, representing District 4 for […]

  • October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, support the cause at one of these many local events

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Crisis Services of North Alabama is supporting a number of events. The goal is to help people recognize domestic violence, talk about it, and get help for it – while also empowering survivors and remembering those who have lost their lives to it. If you are in need of help, please call the 24/7 HELPline at 256-716-1000. If you’d like to help, Crisis Services of North Alabama is always in […]

  • Celebrate ODDtober and discover more Chattanooga Fun

    CHATTANOOGA, TN – What is jet-powered, has three hearts pumping actual blue blood, a brain shaped like a donut and can reach 16 feet across yet still manage to squeeze through a hole the size of a walnut? No, this isn’t the setup to a terrible dad joke. The possessor of this grab bag of superpowers – the Giant Pacific Octopus – is real, and it`s just one of several extraordinary animals that visitors to the Tennessee Aquarium will get […]

  • North Alabama’s hot housing market

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – School is back in session, the leaves are turning and we may finally get a break from the heat. But unlike years past, the housing market shows no sign of cooling off this fall. Instead, the latest numbers from the Huntsville Area Association of Realtors (HAAR) show people are still buying at record rates. In short, it’s a seller’s market. In August, 1,470 homes sold in North Alabama. The average sale price – $216,730. Average days on […]

  • Kidney Education Conference set for October 9

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and others have an opportunity to network and learn about kidney disease at this year’s Kidney Education Conference. The event is set for Wednesday, October 9, 2019 from 8:30am – 4:30pm at Huntsville Botanical Garden, 4747 Bob Wallace Avenue. Organizers say “community advocacy can help change the nature of the disease. The more we educate and the more awareness there is about kidney disease, the better we can treat and prevent it.” Topics […]

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