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Unearthing the secrets beneath Gilbo Avenue, and more, by John McGauley

Last month, crews found a buried fuel-oil tank while working on the parking-lot project on Gilbo Avenue near Lindy’s Diner, which seems to be taking an awful long time.

It was a huge, 10,000-gallon tank, mind you, and I, myself, with my own eyes, saw it being carted down Main Street, allegedly on its way to a scrap metal dealer; it took up the entire bed of a tractor trailer. It looked like a huge, barnacle-encrusted Leviathan. I was in the parking lot of Cumberland Farms, having just purchased a 64-can suitcase pack of Bud Light — for the weekend, you know.

But I have been told by a very reliable source, a mole I have in City Hall, that a whole lot of other things were also found buried on that property, but workers were sworn to secrecy under penalty of losing their jobs, medical benefits, pensions and special parking dispensations downtown. Those were the sticks, but the carrot was they were also promised gift certificates to JimEddie’s and Pappagalo’s if they stayed mum.

But one brave soul from the city was willing to talk with me, as long as he was not identified (I can say he’s a short man with a surprisingly good head of jet-black hair for his 62 years of age; he told me the threats really didn’t scare him because he’s already double-dipping on retirement pensions from the city and his wife is receiving her pension from the school district; they’re moving to Florida soon, too, by the way, bought a house down there near the water; taxes are just too high for them in Keene, he said).

He told me that while excavating the fuel-oil tank, they found a lead box the size of a casket.

They then had somebody go over to Lindy’s to get a can opener. He told me what they uncovered inside the container:

A set of accordion-shaped files — one marked “Real Zapruder Film, 1963”; another labeled “Demolition Plans: World Trade Center”; on a third set of documents was “Marilyn Monroe Death” and; a fourth had markings on it that simply said “Area 51.” A separate container held a file marked “Nostradamus.”

The crew contacted their bosses, who then contacted City Hall, who then called the local police. The Bearcat was ordered out of its garage, and before the documents could be examined further at the site, the container was spirited away by two black Apache helicopters, which had landed on top of Syd’s furniture store nearby.

The helicopter crews, wearing black ski-masks, extracted the documents and the container in which they were held. Nothing was said except for the threat to the workers to keep silent, or else. Then the promise of the gift certificates.

My source did tell me, though, that one of the crew members then picked up two huge to-go bags from Lindy’s. I checked with Lindy’s and they denied the whole thing. Employees at Syd’s, too, reportedly saw and heard nothing. I checked, too, with the two local scrap-metal places and they denied ever seeing a huge metal-cylinder tank. Sure.

My source told me, too, that they were able to extract a sample of the liquid in the fuel-tank before it was hauled away, and it didn’t appear to be any petroleum product with which they were familiar. He told me that he put a couple of drops of it in his car’s fuel tank and he got almost 250 miles a gallon.

I learned, too, that one other set of documents was found, this one after the Apache helicopters had left. It was a complete set of plans for Keene’s Downtown Revitalization, prepared by various consultants, for 1976, 1978, 1982, 1984, 1990, 1996, 2002, 2005, 2010 and 2012. With these were the invoices for the plans, totaling more than $3 million. City Hall officials rushed in and confiscated these documents, I was told.

You know, I’m inclined to believe all of this. We’ve been kept in the dark about so many things, by inept and corrupt government officials, for so long. It’s time we started to unravel all of these gross deceptions and, like Hercules, clean the Augean stables. If we only had term limits and could extract all money from politics.

I don’t usually mix subjects in a column, but I’ll awkwardly segue to the real plight of the Hundred Nights homeless shelter, using the thin-as-dental floss connection of the many downtown revitalization plans found buried on Gilbo Avenue.

Once again, Hundred Nights has been stymied in its relocation efforts when the former MoCo Arts building on Railroad Street was sold to someone else. The plan, before the sale, was to ask the city to redefine Hundred Nights as a hotel so it wouldn’t require a variance for the new site. I knew that effort was doomed from the start, as Marriott already has a nice hotel across the street, and would have smothered the City Council with a stretch-limousine-load of very well-dressed Boston attorneys.

I’ve said this before, but is not Hundred Nights’ plight the most explicit example of the NIMBY principle — Not In My Backyard? I’ve heard so many people say a variation of the following: “I don’t want to seem uncharitable, but I don’t want it near my house/business.” Others say, not in public, of course, that they believe the shelter is a beacon for more homeless to come to Keene.

We are in such a fix, with proud announcements on the front yards of many people in town that “All Are Welcome Here.”

Well, all are not welcome. The homeless shelter isn’t welcome, apparently anywhere. I don’t want it anywhere near where I live; not everybody is welcome in my house. But I don’t want to seem uncharitable, you know.

Author and local radio talk show host John McGauley writes from Keene. He can be reached at mcgauleyink @gmail.com.

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