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Need a semi-static home page : Plug-in? Template?

  • I need to have a homepage/index page that is different from the regular blog pages. Here’s what I’m looking for:

    —————
    Static Content
    blah blah blah
    blah blah blah
    blah blah blah
    —————
    1. Most recent
    “featured” post
    —————
    2. most recent post

    I’d like the static area to be editable from within WP’s editor (that is I don’t want to have to manually edit a php file and FTP it when I need to change the “static” content)

    I’d like section 1 to have the last post (excerpt) that I write that I give a category of “Featured”

    I’d like section 2 to have the most recent post (excerpt)

    I’m still pretty new at WP, but I have done some work with templates, etc. I’m just not groking how to combine everything to get the page I need.

    Ideas, leads, samples, etc.?

    Thanks!
    I see soem plugins that kind of address this, but I have a feeling that there’s something to do with a custom page template.

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