As a regular viewer of Channel 29 News At Noon, I must say that I am very impressed by the revamped set. When I tuned in Monday for my daily dose of Ron Reynolds and Katie Hsu, I couldn't believe the great changes! Some very sharp people must have put their noggins together to come up with the new look.

The most obvious change is that they've gotten rid of the old desk and replaced it with a much more modern-looking one. It's sleek and has these fancy strips of turquoise-ish glass running all the way along the bottom. It's the kind of state-of-the-art desk that truly makes me feel like Channel 29 is the place for "On-Point News You Can Use."

They've also replaced the old chairs with ones that pivot. Ron and Katie really seem to be having a much easier time chatting at the end of segments, now that they don't have to turn their heads to the side all the time. Yesterday, after an "Around The Town" segment about Maggie's Munchables, a new bakery that just opened over on the west side, Katie turned to Ron and said, "Mmm–sounds good." To which Ron replied, "I think I'm going to have to go off my diet for a few days." It was just perfect!

Then there's the new Channel 29 logo on the back wall. I really like it. The old one was just painted flat onto the wall, but this one sticks out and looks three-dimensional. It's curvy and slants a little bit to the right, almost as if it's leaning forward to reach out and grab the news! Plus, there's just a hint of metallic-gold trim around the numbers, which helps offset the fun turquoise color and give it a certain air of seriousness.

I must admit, when I first saw the set, I thought to myself, "Where's the monitor? How are they going to show the footage of the Wednesday's Child's outing with his Big Brother?" I soon found out that they have a special monitor that rises out of a pedestal! When not in use, it's tucked away unobtrusively.

Another smart move was the construction of a special Pet Of The Week alcove. Now, when Donna from the Humane Society drops by on Thursdays, there's a special little area just for her.

And the sports desk is now part of the main desk area, which I'm sure makes sports anchor Craig Cohen feel much more like part of the team. That also means meteorologist Nick Fields now has a much shorter walk from his AccuDoppler weather map to the sports desk for a little post-forecast banter with Craig. Somebody had his thinking cap on when these changes were made, that's for sure!

With the new set has also come a whole new way of doing things at Channel 29. The boring old news-sports-weather format has been broken up, so now they can squeeze in lots of great new features, like Dr. Asa Gregory's "Heart Beats" segment. My other favorites are "Web Watch," "Koats 4 Kids," and "Channel 29 Salutes." On Tuesday, they saluted a local restaurant owner who donates day-old bread to a nearby senior center. It's so nice to learn about the people and places that shape my community!

I've also noticed that, with the new set, the News At Noon team has been dressing in a much more casual manner. While he still wears suits for the 6 p.m. news, Ron has ditched his sportcoat for News At Noon. And Katie has been experimenting with scarves in a way she never would have on the old set.

Why, things are so casual, Ron even jokes around with the camera crew and other people offstage! Sometimes, he'll make fun of Rudy the cameraman's loud Hawaiian-print shirts. Some people may consider that sort of thing unprofessional, but I don't think so at all. I think it's fun! It makes me feel like that barrier between anchor and viewer is broken down, and we're all having a good time together.

Someone clearly put a tremendous amount of time and effort into deciding what the new set would look like. It's obvious that everything was very carefully considered, from the color of the carpet to the size of the new clip-on microphones. Well, their time was not wasted, because people like me really notice these things. Channel 29, you really are "The True News Leaders."