OK, I read the alt.comp.freeware post and as you may have realised now, it's all been done - you just have to find it out there. The problem is the Net is so vast now that there can be a ton of stuff that's just what you need - but you've no way of knowing that.
But anyway you're sorted now I think. Here's the link to download Joomla CMS:
...and scroll down the page to this link for Joomla 1.0.15 (there is a newer version but it's too buggy as yet):
English (UK) 1.0.15 Full Package ZIP
You also need a couple of plugins so that it works correctly and is easy to work with:
sh404SEF -- fixes the URLs
JFCKeditor -- a decent visual editor
PU DB admin -- for backing up your database
And your own template of course - but no need to worry about that, you can change templates in Joomla in 10 minutes. There are about 5,000 to choose from and then you start to hack them to make them unique...
You asked about
1. top facilities host/server setup
2. country to host the site.
Let's do country first, it's more logical. If you operate in the States then you need your site hosted in the States - that's because search engines assume that if your site is in South Africa, it will be more relevant to people there and less relevant to people in the US - and they adjust the search results they show people, to reflect this (if you're in Canada and you search on Google, Google knows you're in CAN and gives you the results it *thinks* you want to see - mainly in CAN).
So pick a host that's definitely in the US, and not in CAN or MX.
Hosting: yeah, this is kind of important too. You should first decide your budget for hosting, like $0, $0 - $50, $50 - $100 or whatever. You'll get what you need for $60 or less so that's the minimum budget for this job I think.
After that, google for 'joomla hosting us' or whatever other way you think you'll get the info you need. It's best to go with hosts who know what they're doing, as the only downside to this CMS (which has a ton of pluses) is that it's very sensitive to server setups, and throws a wobbly if the hosts are duff. But people who advertise for J hosting should know the score.
There are a zillion results, with Siteground and Rochen at the top. Siteground are a little expensive @ $72, Rochen about the same but I don't like them as they have a 6MB PHP memory limit on their accounts (a server setting that means you can't use web analytics).
Wade through that lot anyway and see what you find. Don't sign up because there is some other stuff I can tell you about before that. Hosts also have an auto Joomla installer (called Fantastico) but it's often set up incorrectly.
If you can't find one you like I'll give you the URL of one that's $36 a year.
I need to warn you that you are in for some serious brain pain for the first month, but if you can stay the course it's worth it. And there are a lot of resources I can point you toward.