Concert cheers residents in Milo

Posted Sept. 15, 2009, at 9:33 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:11 p.m.

MILO, Maine — About 200 people attended a concert Monday on the anniversary of the Sept. 14, 2008, arson fire that destroyed several downtown businesses and heavily damaged another.

The event was planned by Sandra Haley, whose flower shop was one of the businesses destroyed in the fast-moving fire. She enlisted the help of friends to bring some music to the downtown, she said Tuesday.

“We were thinking positive about our Main Street,” she said.

Josh Guthrie, Jack Eastman, Mike Venti and Averill Lovely, music teachers and musicians from the region, performed an hour-long concert for the crowd, which included schoolchildren. The performance was so pleasurable, according to Haley, that some suggested the downtown would be a great place for other outdoor performances. Other residents suggested the concert should become an annual event.

Haley, who said she had worked on Main Street ever since she was a teen, misses the customers who frequented her store. She said she operated the flower shop for 36 years and before that worked as a waitress on Main Street. Haley had partially closed her flower shop when the fire was set at Hobnobber’s Pub to cover a burglary.

Christopher M. Miliano, 32, of Milo pleaded guilty to arson and was sentenced to 20 years in prison with all but eight years suspended. He was given four years’ probation. He also was sentenced to three years for the burglary and 90 days for theft involving the break-in at the pub.

In addition to the pub and the flower shop, the fire destroyed a game room, a former theater, living quarters on the second floor of two of the buildings, and the Milo True Value hardware store. It also damaged the Milo House of Pizza.

The pizzeria, which has been renovated, provided the electricity for Monday’s event.

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