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Whatever appliance repair issue you're stressed over, there's no problem too big or small for our team to handle. At Appliance Service Plus, we offer a total package of quality service, fair prices, friendly customer service, and effective fixes. Unlike some appliance companies in Dos Palos, our technicians are trained rigorously and undergo extensive background checks. We work with all major appliances and are capable of GE appliance repair, Maytag appliance repair, Frigidaire appliance repair, and more.

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Latest News in Dos Palos, CA

Former Water District General Manager Indicted for $25 Million Water Theft and Tax Violations

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment today against Dennis Falaschi, 75, of Aptos, California, charging him with conspiracy, theft of government property, and filing false tax returns, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.According to court documents, Falaschi was the general manager for a public water district in Fresno and Merced Counties near the communities of Dos Palos, Firebaugh, and Los Banos. He exploited a leak in the Delta-Mendota Canal and engineered a way to steal over $25 milli...

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment today against Dennis Falaschi, 75, of Aptos, California, charging him with conspiracy, theft of government property, and filing false tax returns, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Falaschi was the general manager for a public water district in Fresno and Merced Counties near the communities of Dos Palos, Firebaugh, and Los Banos. He exploited a leak in the Delta-Mendota Canal and engineered a way to steal over $25 million in federally owned water.

According to court documents, in 1992, Falaschi was informed that an old, abandoned drain turnout near milepost markers 94.57 and 94.58 on the Delta-Mendota Canal was leaking water from the Delta-Mendota Canal into a parallel canal that the water district controlled. The drain was connected to a standpipe on the bank of the Delta-Mendota Canal that used a gate and valve to redirect water from the Delta-Mendota Canal into the water district’s canal. The gate had been cemented closed years earlier. The cement had since cracked and water was coming through it.

Thereafter, Falaschi instructed an employee to install a new gate inside the standpipe so that the site could be opened and closed on demand. He later instructed the employee to install a lid with a lock on top of the standpipe and an approximate two-foot elbow pipe off the valve of the standpipe that angled down 90 degrees into the water district’s canal. The lid concealed the theft because it prevented people from seeing that the gate inside the standpipe was functional. The elbow pipe further concealed and expedited the theft because it enclosed the water flow from the Delta-Mendota Canal into the water district’s canal and was installed in such a way that it was generally submerged under the water.

Falaschi subsequently instructed employees to use the site to steal federal water from the Delta-Mendota Canal on multiple occasions until the site was discovered in April 2015. He used the proceeds of the theft to pay himself and others exorbitant salaries, fringe benefits, and personal expense reimbursements.

Additionally, Falaschi is charged with filing false tax returns in 2015 through 2017. According to court records, he failed to report over $900,000 in income to the Internal Revenue Service that he received from private water sales.

The case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General, the IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Barton is prosecuting the case.

If convicted of theft of government property, Falaschi faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. If convicted of conspiracy, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. If convicted of the tax charges, he faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Couple with deep community roots chosen as Los Banos Spring Fair grand marshals

Good things take time, it is said, and eventually everything will come together. For Rhonda and Larry Borelli, Sr., eventually is here.Both were chosen in 2020 to be the Grand Marshals of the Merced County Spring Fair in Los Banos, but due to Covid the fair was canceled. Now, in 2022, they will fulfill their title as this year’s Grand Marshals at the fair, which runs from April 27 through May 1.For Larry, the family roots of agriculture run deep. He was born in Dos Palos and has been a farmer most of his life as was his f...

Good things take time, it is said, and eventually everything will come together. For Rhonda and Larry Borelli, Sr., eventually is here.

Both were chosen in 2020 to be the Grand Marshals of the Merced County Spring Fair in Los Banos, but due to Covid the fair was canceled. Now, in 2022, they will fulfill their title as this year’s Grand Marshals at the fair, which runs from April 27 through May 1.

For Larry, the family roots of agriculture run deep. He was born in Dos Palos and has been a farmer most of his life as was his father before him.

Early in his life Larry also worked for the San Luis Canal Company. Currently Larry grows cotton, fresh market tomatoes, alfalfa, wheat, and white corn. He has been a member of the fair board for 12 years, from 2003 to 2015.

Rhonda was born and raised in Los Banos and has been a hospital medical coder for Memorial Hospital in Los Banos for the past 40 years.

Both Larry and Rhonda were actively involved in the Spring Fair, also known as the May Day Fair, while in high school in the mid-60s. Larry was showing animals in the FFA, while Rhonda was active in 4H with entries in cooking and sewing.

“The Merced County Spring Fair is important to Los Banos,” Larry said, “because it helps keep the community core together.

“And it helps keep the community connected to agriculture,” Larry said. “If you want to see the diversity of local farming, the fair is the place to be. Every day it’s something different. There are dairy cattle in the arena. There are sheep and goats, and some days there are rabbits and birds.”

Both Larry and Rhonda are very proud of the Little Hands agricultural exhibit at the fair. The first year that Larry was a fair director he was part of helping create the exhibit. And Rhonda continues to volunteer inside Little Hands each year by helping the children understand the importance of agriculture in the Central Valley.

Larry remembers local dairyman Phil Fanelli back in the early 2000s showing children how to milk cows by hand. Then, years later, with funding from Hilmar Cheese, the fair built what is now a 7,200 square foot agriculture exhibit called the Henry Miller Farm, with many different animals which fairgoers can pet. As the fair continues to grow, Larry said, “the main theme continues to be agriculture.”

Rhonda volunteers each year at the Merced County United For Life booth located in the O’Banion Building. She enjoys interacting with children who are inquisitive about the various stages of the unborn children and providing information for them.

Over the years Larry and his son Nathan of Turlock, have been working at the junior livestock auction, where all of the animals are sold after they have been shown by the FFA and 4H students. Nathan and his wife, Elizabeth have three children, Abrianna, Rocco and Matteo.

When reminiscing about the years of working the fair auction Larry said, “I was blessed to work with a bunch of really good people. I enjoyed it so much.”

The Borellis have two sons and a daughter. They have seven grandchildren, five boys and two girls ranging in ages from eight to 17 years old. And they are all involved in 4H or FFA.

Their daughter, Natasha Crivelli recently graduated from the California Agricultural Leadership program and is currently the President of the Merced County Spring Fair Board after being appointed in 2015 by the late Merced County Supervisor Jerry O’Banion. She and her husband, Chris, farm in Dos Palos.

Their son, Larry Borelli, Jr., is an agriculture teacher at Los Banos High School. Larry Jr. ands wife, Mindy of Los Banos have four children, Larry III, Brokton, Angelina and Luke. As an ag teacher, Larry Jr. continues to promote agriculture as his father taught him.

“Agriculture teaches life skills,” the elder Borelli said. “It can be growing a potted plant to raising a bird, rabbit or whatever. Learning the importance of responsibility may be the most important life skill.”

The Borellis will be part of the Merced County Spring Fair May Day parade in downtown Los Banos on Saturday, April 30, and they will be participating during the opening ceremonies each day of the fair.

Traditional high school graduations are back in Los Banos, Dos Palos, Gustine

Unlike last year, high school seniors in 2021 generally don’t have to worry about missing out on traditional graduation ceremonies in Merced County.Seniors in the county’s seven public high school districts will be allowed to laugh, take photos, congratulate one another and enjoy the time with family and friends.Still, with the COVID-19 pandemic on the decline — though not completely in the rear-view mirror — there will be some guidelines set in place.For example, some of those precautionary rules...

Unlike last year, high school seniors in 2021 generally don’t have to worry about missing out on traditional graduation ceremonies in Merced County.

Seniors in the county’s seven public high school districts will be allowed to laugh, take photos, congratulate one another and enjoy the time with family and friends.

Still, with the COVID-19 pandemic on the decline — though not completely in the rear-view mirror — there will be some guidelines set in place.

For example, some of those precautionary rules include limits on graduation tickets and social distancing. Plus, mask-wearing which will either be enforced or encouraged.

“I am so proud of this graduating class,” Los Banos Unified Superintendent Mark Marshall wrote in an email to the Sun-Star.

“They are very determined and resilient. With everything that was thrown their way this school year, they adapted and moved forward. The Class of 2021 will hold a special place as the story of public education in the United States is being written.”

The following is a list of what school districts in Merced County have planned celebrate local graduation ceremonies.

In total there will be approximately 724 seniors in Los Banos Unified graduating this year.

Face masks will be required to be worn by attendees and graduates. There are limits on tickets.

Los Banos High has two ceremonies scheduled for June 12. The first ceremony is at 10 a.m. and it is for graduates who have last names starting with A-L. The second ceremony is scheduled at 1 p.m. for students who last names starting with M-Z. Students will be given four tickets and the ceremony will be live streamed.

Pacheco High’s ceremony will take place at the campus June 14. The first ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m. and the second ceremony is scheduled for noon. A limit on tickets will be announced by Principal Daniel Sutton.

San Luis High’s ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, June 3 at 7 p.m. at the campus. Graduates are limited to six tickets.

Crossroads Alternative Education Center’s ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. June 3 in front of the school. Each graduate may have two guests.

Dos Palos High will be holding an in-person graduation ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 4. Graduates will be given four tickets. The event will take place at the high school’s stadium.

The ceremony will also be live-streamed and students and parents can find the information via email and on Facebook on the day of graduation. Principal Holly Crivelli said there will be 100 seniors graduating.

“The last quarter of last year has been extremely trying on teachers and students and parents and staff all over across the board that work in education and it is exciting that we’re to have some modified traditional ceremonies,” Crivelli said.

“A lot of these kids have been working so hard. We’re really just proud of the determination and perseverance of all these kids.”

Seniors at the George Christian Education center will have their ceremony at 7:30 p.m. June 1 at the Dos Palos High School Stadium. Each student will receive 6 tickets along with their cap and gowns on May 28.

Gustine High and Pioneer High School graduates will graduate together at Gustine High School’s football stadium at 7:30 p.m. June 4. The Gustine Adult School graduates are given the opportunity to participate in the ceremony, but none have expressed any intentions to walk, said Adam Cano, principal of Gustine High and Gustine Adult School.

Each graduate will receive four tickets and the event will be live streamed. Social distancing will be enforced and masks are required to be worn by graduates and attendees. Graduates can pick up their diplomas at the school office starting Monday June 7. There is no alternative to the in-person ceremony.

There are 130 seniors graduating from Gustine High and Pioneer High. Like many others regarding graduation, Cano is “excited for some normalcy.”

“I think it’s really good for the kids, it’s really good for the community it’s back to a traditional setting,” Cano said. “We have our video board that will announce where the students are going (to college or their career paths). We’re back to some normalcy, but it’s just not a packed house.”

This story was originally published May 24, 2021 5:00 AM.

Merced College’s Los Banos Campus to mark 50 years of education with celebration

Merced College’s Los Banos Campus is celebrating a milestone with a 50th anniversary celebration on Nov. 5.“The Merced College Los Banos Campus 50th year celebration highlights our commitment to serving the community and the thousands of people on the west side of Merced County who have advanced their education and created better lives for themselves,” Merced College President Chris Vitelli said in a campus news release.The college is commemorating its five decades with free food and entertainment, including c...

Merced College’s Los Banos Campus is celebrating a milestone with a 50th anniversary celebration on Nov. 5.

“The Merced College Los Banos Campus 50th year celebration highlights our commitment to serving the community and the thousands of people on the west side of Merced County who have advanced their education and created better lives for themselves,” Merced College President Chris Vitelli said in a campus news release.

The college is commemorating its five decades with free food and entertainment, including carnival games.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke and Merced College Trustee John Pedrozo will lead a volunteer barbecue crew serving food, and taco trucks will also be standing by with free tacos.

The celebration will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the outdoor quad of the Merced College Los Banos Campus at 22240 West Highway 152. The event is free to Los Banos and Dos Palos residents, as well as the college’s supporters throughout Merced County.

Current and past Los Banos Campus staff and students will be honored during the event, as will emeritus board member Gene Vierra, the release said. Previous deans of the campus and several adjunct instructors will be acknowledged, too.

“The whole west side of Merced County is proud of the Merced College Los Banos Campus for what it has done for our community,” Merced College Trustee Joe Gutierrez, who represents Los Banos, said in the release.

“We hope there will be a big turnout for the celebration so the campus can express its appreciation to the many people who have supported it over the years.”

Merced College’s Los Banos Campus has offered opportunities over the past half-century to many individuals who might not have otherwise been able to attend college, the release said. These graduates have earned degrees and certificates, transferred to universities and found fruitful jobs.

Jessica Moran, a Los Banos Campus dean and native of Los Banos, has seen the it grow over the years and wants to continue that growth, the release said.

“We plan to welcome our community to showcase what we have accomplished over the past five decades,” Moran said in the release. “But we also want to hear what they envision will help us grow over the next five decades.”

Students from the Los Banos Welding Program created a suggestion box for the event. All suggestions will be read and will help shape plans over the next five decades, according to the release.

Merced College is inviting businesses and organizations to help sponsor the celebration. Families and individuals can also contribute. Sponsorship information is available on the Merced College website.

Getting in the Christmas spirit? Here are the festivities happening around Merced County

As Thanksgiving tables are cleared and autumn turns to winter, that means it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Merced County. Here’s a few holiday happenings to mark on the calendar after Thursday’s festivities:The City of Merced is hosting three events in December to carry residents’ holiday spirit through until Christmastime.To kick it all off, a Christmas Tree Lane “reverse p...

As Thanksgiving tables are cleared and autumn turns to winter, that means it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Merced County. Here’s a few holiday happenings to mark on the calendar after Thursday’s festivities:

The City of Merced is hosting three events in December to carry residents’ holiday spirit through until Christmastime.

To kick it all off, a Christmas Tree Lane “reverse parade” will be held on Main Street in downtown Merced on Dec. 4 from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

Unlike past years before the COVID-19 pandemic, when attendees lined Main Street to watch floats and performances make their way through downtown, the reverse parade stations participants and floats in set spots. Parade-goers drive by the spectacle in their vehicles, entering at M and 18th streets.

Applications to enter the parade can be submitted through Nov. 29.

Santa’s Workshop is coming to the Applegate Park Zoo on Dec. 15 from 4:45 to 7:30 p.m. Kids age 2 to 10 are welcome, although masks are required at the event. The cost per child attending is $10. Families can pre-register at 632 W 18th St. or by calling (209) 385-6235.

The Applegate Park Zoo is also the place to be Dec. 16 through 19 for the city’s Lights Before Christmas. The community is invited to gather for holiday music, hot cocoa and photo booths from 5 to 7:30 p.m. during the three-day event.

Atwater too is ringing in the holidays with several festive community events.

The city’s annual Christmas parade, themed Holidays on Ice, starts its march at 7 p.m. on Dec. 3. The parade route kicks off at Winton Way and Grove Avenue, takes a left on Broadway Avenue and finishes off at the historic Bloss Mansion at 1020 Cedar Avenue.

Community members can submit parade entry applications through Nov. 29, available on the Atwater Chamber of Commerce’s website.

Bloss Mansion will also be a local holiday hub from Dec. 17 through 19. Music, shows, live animals, Christmas trees and a snow land play area are free to the public from 5 to 9 p.m.

Atwater’s first outdoor ice rink is also open for the holiday season through mid-January.

Los Banos’s annual downtown Christmas parade is also slated for Dec. 3. Themed Rocking Around A Community Strong Christmas, the parade will leave from 4th and H streets at 6 p.m., serenaded to the tune of choir music.

The route finishes at Henry Miller Plaza where the Christmas tree will be lit and 10 parade awards presented.

Parade applications are available at the Los Banos Chamber office at 932 Sixth St and can be submitted until Nov. 29.

Downtown Livingston will light up with its Court of Trees on Dec. 3.

Featuring up to 106 Christmas trees, community members can register for $40 to decorate their tree as early as Nov. 30. Once the trees are illuminated on Dec. 3, they’ll shine through the end of Christmas on Dec. 25.

Residents can call (209) 394-8830 for more information.

The city’s annual Christmas parade will take place on Dec. 10, weaving through a neighborhood route between Livingston Middle School and Campus Park Elementary School. Homes along the parade’s path are encouraged to decorate.

Community members can register for the Christmas Kitchen themed parade online or at City Hall.

The City of Dos Palos is getting an early start celebrating the holidays, with its Christmas parade scheduled for Dec. 2. The annual holiday event is title the Dos Palos Grinchmas Who-liday Parade this year.

Marching starts at 6 p.m. at Blossom and Mitchell streets and ends at the Boy Scout hut for a tree lighting ceremony, pictures with Santa Claus and other events. Kids can mail their wish lists off to Santa in the North Pole, too.

For the first time this year, the annual parade will feature a contest judging floats on theme, most lights, float enthusiasm and best farm equipment. Floats, quads, tractors and walking entries are welcome in the parade.

Gustine’s festivities are slated for a day of celebration on Nov. 27, according to the Gustine Chamber of Commerce.

The morning will begin with breakfast with Santa from 8 to 11 a.m. at Gustine Pentecost Society Hall. Then, the community is invited to shop a craft fair at 5th Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A Santa’s Workshop will also be set up that morning from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 367 5th St.

Gustine residents will have another opportunity to get photos with Santa in the afternoon from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at 498 5th St.

A Christmas tree lighting and entertainment is also scheduled for 6 p.m. at the intersection of 5th St. and 4th Ave.

The festive day will end with a lighted Christmas parade immediately following the tree lighting.

This story was originally published November 29, 2021 12:49 PM.

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