Some (I think) minor PHP coding on a WP redesign

This is super basic, I believe, for anyone who knows some general PHP for Wordpress.

I run a blog for ESPN about the NBA team the Indiana Pacers. I'm currently finishing up a redesign of the site, [url removed, login to view], which you can see here in mock-up form at I purchased the magazine-style theme fairly cheaply and generally like it, but having one (I believe easily fixable) problem regarding how the content is displayed on the homepage.

On the top of the homepage is a slider, which for this media site will have always display the most important "featured" articles. Then there are a few category-specific widgets and, below, a recent posts widget. (The whole home page is widgetized ... which is easy and works well, aside from this one issue I'm about to explain.) Unfortunately, the recent posts also include the content that is featured on the slider atop the page. And to me, having it display twice on the home page is redundant and unnecessary.

So I need to know how to add something to the recent-posts widget to make it exclude a certain category. (In this case, category ID 1667 or "featured," which is what controls the slider.) PHP code for that widget is attached. Pretty simple stuff, looks like. I just can't figure out how or where to insert a query to exclude certain categories.

Any thoughts? Let me know if you have the time to get to this right away and what it might cost. Looking for a quick fix as I really wanted to the redesign to be live by now. My last hurdle. (Can obviously send the rest of the files on FTP or give you access to the server if there are other files you think would need to be edited. I'm pretty good with CSS and some of the more usual Wordpress hacks, but this is a little above me.)

Skills: Graphic Design, HTML, PHP, Website Design

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