Sort thumbnails seperate from directories?

I have a modifed version of phpalbum that I'm using for a site manager. On the front page I have news items (as images) along with the directory list.

I want to be able to sort the directory list by name, and the news items by date desc. The news items is coming from a different create function. Instead of function theme_generate_thumbnails($thmbs), I'm using function theme_generate_news($thmbs). But I still don't know if I can seperate the lists. I understand that I'm rewriting code here, but any suggestions on how I can go about doing this?