A great reference for making wordpress template that resembles more of a CMS than a Blog.
Extending WordPress for better site publishing | urlgreyhot
The key to getting the custom templates was to find a way to figure out what section a page is part of. WP gives you an excellent way to establish parent-child relationships when editing pages by simply selecting a Page Parent. But the default sidebar shows the entire hierarchy. The local navigation on both of these sites only shows the children of the section you are currently navigating. To get that to work, I had to do a little scripting.