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The gunmen shot him in the neck, the head, the upper back, and finally in the mouth. Then they left him for dead.

For four hours, San Marcos man Noe Garcia Chavez drifted in and out of consciousness, honking his truck’s horn and flashing his headlights in a deserted area of Tijuana fittingly called the End of the World.

Amazingly, Garcia survived the 2004 shooting. Five years later, his wife’s in prison for the crime, the shooters are still on the loose and the miracle man’s life is a mess, but he has enough faith to bring a new woman into his life.

Don’t miss the remarkable photo of how Garcia looks today, wounds and all.

In other news:

  • The name of a rule in some teacher union contracts is clunky and murky: “maintenance of standards.” But the idea behind it is simple enough: making sure teachers aren’t overloaded.

    Can it work here? San Diego schools are in the middle of a debate that’s pitted principals (who fear losing a free hand to run schools) against teachers (who want to be protected from being overworked). We check in with educators elsewhere to see how such rules have worked.

  • A quarter century ago, San Diego’s media decamped to the Caribbean island of Montserrat in search of a swindler. Did they find him? Boy did they ever.

    With the help of a reporter, a prosecutor and newspaper archives, we look back at J. David Dominelli’s not-so-secret escape to paradise and the resulting media circus. Make sure to check out the pot-boiler language — including “lithe, athletic bodies” — that a normally staid San Diego newspaper produced in its coverage.

    As we reported earlier this week, Dominelli died last summer at the age of 68, leaving a legacy of wreckage in San Diego. But what happened to Dominelli himself? What kind of person did he become? Help us understand his life outside the spotlight if you know anything.

    Also on our site today: The owner of the U-T isn’t going to buy The Boston Globe after all, and columnist Rich Toscano says the recession is just no excuse for the city’s financial straits.

    Elsewhere:

  • Despite the opposition of some San Diego-area legislators, the state senate gave a big boost to plans for a stadium near Los Angeles. Might it woo the Chargers north? (U-T)
  • A watchdog group wants the Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate two female lobbyists, including one who works for SDG&E’s parent company, over their alleged involvement in a sex scandal involving a now-former Republican assemblyman. (AP)
  • James Arthur Ray, a New Age guru from Carlsbad who led an Arizona retreat where two people died in a sweat lodge ceremony, told an audience this week that he’s “being tested.”

    One participant, one of 19 injured, was reported yesterday to still be in critical condition. Authorities have eliminated carbon-monoxide poisoning as a cause. (AP)

  • And finally: The People’s Reporter is back. It’s time once again for readers to give assignments to one of our journalists for a day.

    Keegan Kyle, our public safety reporter and a recent transplant from Wisconsin, is at your service. Wondering about a news story that’s fallen off the radar? Curious whatever happened to a local newsmaker from the past? Or maybe you’re just wondering what the Packers’ chances are this year. Drop him a line and put him to work.

— RANDY DOTINGA

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