Good looking page. If anything, the strory was kind of hard to follow in that it was broken up into three different chunks on different parts of the page. Maybe if the header with the color bar was at the top of the page or higher up with the main chunk of the story in one full column below it it would have bit a little easier to read.
Good points, Bill. I also wonder if the page might be more successful with fewer visual tricks. Like mixing metaphors, the various visual techniques (decorative elements, drop caps, fonts and shadowed quotation marks) can compete with each other when combined on a single page. Still, a nice page.