Sure ! sorry, i'm not used to being asked; i'm usually the asker (is that a word?)
it was actually real easy, and i'm not sure if this is the most efficient way to do it, but this is what i did:
1) Each of the 12 categories got their own template called category-1.php, category-2.php, etc.
2) In the template, i used this:
<?php include (TEMPLATEPATH . '/leftsidebar.php'); ?>
which is from the regular page and index templates. However, I created two new sidebars called 'leftsidebarpage.php and rightsidebarpage.php' and called those on each of the category templates
3) I went back in and installed information that was unique to that category on the template 'sidebars'.
4) When the time comes and information that is completely unique needs to be in one of the sidebars, then i can create 'rightsidebarpageREGIONX.php' and call it
it is still very much under construction, but here is a look at it: Texas-Fire.com (check the 'Regional Information' links to see each of the categories). right now the right sidebar (which is what got me started on this) has Google ads in it, but that will be replaced with the unique information for each category (region)