Thanks for the suggestions, the printer was able to accept a separate pdf so that got us set up for January's edition but I still want to get it in the template.
Peter - do you know how to split a pdf in half vertically?
I still think the ideal way to handle it is to be able to insert one 17" wide page and keep the rest of the publication as 8.5x11. There has got to be a way to do this.
Pages does not have spreads or bleeds or many Pro features.
It is really a case of Back to the Future, doing what I used to have to do in the 1980's. Just repeat the image twice, once on the left half of the spread and once on the right half of the spread. If it is a photo it is easy to actually split it into two halves using Photoshop, Pixelmator etc. which keeps the file size down.
Splitting pdfs is really just the same as repeating individual objects, the basic pdf doesn't change it is simply masked into 2 halves.
As I said if you want to maintain the spread as editable do what I suggested in my first post.