As strange as this sounds, not all page templates have all the widget positions that you see, only a select few which are named with “Front Page….etc” on each template. So when you have a page open, go to the Template drop down list and you will see two sets of templates, the basic ones and then the ones that start with Front Page…. (these are the ones with all the extra widget positions). Not sure why I named those templates as “Front Page….” but basically these are the full widget based templates whereas the others are the bottom and left or right sidebars only.
As for the title display of the browser, I used the default WP method, but I just now tested a change to the theme so that it will load the site title and tagline for the front page (I got this code from the default WP theme). So I can apply this as an update to Encounters which I can send you if you contact me, I will attache it to the email reply.