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Taking care of your Loved One Is What We Do BEST!

It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

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Home Care In Houston, TX

Home Care Houston, TX

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic Henry Staiti House gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Houston, TX is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Houston, TX

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The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.

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TESTIMONIALS

“Acceptable service but pricey”

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TESTIMONIALS

“Acceptable service but pricey”

TWB B.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I have somebody from Always Best Care coming in three days a week. They're always very polite, very caring, and dependable, and they're always there for your needs. I have been using them for two years now. Mainly, this lady comes and drives me to my doctor's appointments, to shopping, and to whatever I ask her to do. She also washes clothes for me on the days we don't go out. She does different little things that I need. She is very polite and always on time, and I just pay once a month. They're good.”

Teresa C.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Great support when caring for my mother at home. She loved the staff that took care of her and I was very pleased with the communication, service and responsiveness. THANK YOU”

Cindy W.
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“Karena and her team do amazing work and provide outstanding service. I would highly recommend giving them a call for your loved one! They go above and beyond to service the aging population in the community. Call Always Best Care today.”

Steven J.
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“Working for always Best care in Houston tx I love it so much”

Erica C.
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“If you’re looking for somewhere to take care of your loved ones this home care is the best. They take pride in their work and always have empathy and compassion for their clients.”

The M.
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“My 91 year old father, who is a stroke patient, came to live with me and my husband 3 years ago after my mother passed away. We struggled weekly to get him to take a bath with assistance by my husband. On the agreed scheduled day for bathing, my father would "feel bad" and negotiate a later date. Bathing a partly paralyzed, uncooperative adult is not easy. So last fall when my husband and I were going to travel overseas for our 25th wedding anniversary, we needed help. Our son was coming to live at our house to take care of my father . It was not appropriate for our son to bathe his grandfather. So my father's doctor recommended I contact Karena Kirk with Always Best Care Senior Services. I had never considered using outside care for my father. Best phone call I have ever made. Ms. Kirk came to meet with me to discuss my father's needs. My father was very reluctant at first. But after the first bathing event, HE IS IN LOVE. Ms. Kirk was gentle, kind, engaging in conversation and asking my father regarding what he needed in this new care relationship. My father knows that his bath schedule is every Monday and Friday and looks forward to Ms. Kirk and her staff coming to care for him. He has in-depth talks and loves their visits. Ms. Kirk and her staff will do other chores like changing out his bedding and washing the linens and his clothes. Any other tasks that I need assistance with they are more than happy to help. It has changed all of our lives for the better.”

Michelle E.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Karena, Roxane and the team at Always Best Care, provide amazing service in a time when good service is hard to find. They are a resource for families in time of need. I highly recommend if you have a loved one needing assistance full time or for a few hours. They accommodate for everyone's needs.”

Drew S.
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“Heaven sent this group of compassionate caregivers into our lives! Everyone who has cared for our Mom has a light within. Having this extended family support is a treasure!”

Kalynn O.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Karena is amazing, she is very interested in your family and is willing to help in whatever way she is able. She and her staff are very flexible as well!!”

CHERYLL O.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Karena, Roxane and the team of Always Best Care, provide excellent service in a time where quality care is hard to find. I would highly recommend their service if you have a loved one who needs personal assistance from full-time or just a few hours. They are a huge resource for families and provide peace of mind. They accommodate for each individuals needs.”

Andrew S.
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TESTIMONIALS

“ABC has become our extended family in caring for our Mom. From taking her to doctor appointments to in home care as needed, they provide excellent compassionate care. The prompt feedback and easy billing is a blessing too. They are heaven sent!”

Kalynn O.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Always Best Care was literally a godsend for my family! From my first phone call with Roxane who was able to put an amazing team of caregivers in the hospital that day for the my dad's 10 week stay (which included Hurricane Harvey) through the next 5 months in a skilled nursing facility, ABC never let me down. The kindness and quality of ABC's caregivers and the way Karena manages her company exceeded what I thought was possible based on my prior 10 years of experience with other outside caregivers during my mom's decline from Alzheimer's. With no family in Houston, knowing I could count on Roxane's and Karena's caring oversight and communication enabled me to advocate for my dad from out of state and gave me peace of mind to be able to honor his wish to stay in Houston. The kindness and skills of ABC's caregivers were extraordinary (and I have very high expectations)! They became extended family for which I will always be grateful.”

Kim R.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I hired Always Best Care Senior Services. They take care of my brother while I'm at work. They make sure he takes his medications, they help him go to the bathroom, and they make sure he eats his dinner. They're patient and caring.”

Phillip
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TESTIMONIALS

“Karena Kirk and her staff were a Godsend to my dad and to me! He passed away last November at 104. The care and attention he received from Always Best Care played a huge part in the quality of his life right up until the end. Karena and Roxane were always there to make sure things ran smoothly and on many occasion going above and beyond the call of duty. I will always be grateful for how that reduced the stress of me being the only child, living out-of-town. They had my complete trust and my dad loved them.”

Lee P.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Always Best Care provided superb care, for both my mom and dad, for a combined total of 6 years. As a result, my parents were able to live out their lives in their own home. Their caregivers provided daily comfort, care, and kept them safe during their difficult final years. We were truly blessed to have the right caregivers for our parents. Thank You Karena!”

VickiT
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TESTIMONIALS

“True expert in all senior care services!!!! I won't use anyone else.”

Katherine B.
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“Very helpful and knowledgeable company.”

Andrew F.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Providing so many different valuable services with years of experience”

Bridgette B.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I have used this company for 5 months. Their caregivers are dependable, professional and caring. Their service has been a step above other agencies that I have dealt with. My contact Ms. Kirk is very thorough and knowledgeable. She goes out of her way to help the clients.”

SusanR

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Houston, TX?

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Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.

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When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

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The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

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At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Houston, TX

Types of Elderly Care in Houston, TX

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Houston, TX
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Houston, TX
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting Hermann Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Houston, TX
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local Étoile or visit Historical Marker, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Houston, TX

Benefits of Home Care in Houston, TX

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Houston, TX, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Houston, TX

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your TX's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Houston, TX

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Houston, TX understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.


Respite Care Houston, TX

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Houston, TX

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at River Oaks
  • Belmont Village Senior Living West University
  • Brookdale The Heights
  • Bedford Residence Assisted Living
  • Belmont Village Senior Living Hunters Creek
  • Best Personal Care Licensed assisted living facility
Home Care Houston, TX

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Houston, TX

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way

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A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive

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Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider

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Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Houston, TX 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Houston, TX

Latest News in Houston, TX

Report: Udoka's Rockets eyeing two ex-Celtics at trade deadline

Report: Udoka's Rockets eyeing two ex-Celtics at trade deadline originally appeared on ...

Report: Udoka's Rockets eyeing two ex-Celtics at trade deadline originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Could (part of) the band get back together under Ime Udoka in Houston?

We're not talking about All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leaving Boston to join their former head coach in the Western Conference. But the Rockets apparently have interest in a pair of former Celtics ahead of the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline.

Houston has "legitimate" interest in Portland Trail Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer reported Friday, citing league personnel. Fischer also noted that the Rockets are among the teams interested in Brogdon's Portland teammate, former Celtics big man Robert Williams, who reportedly is "definitely available" for trade.

Houston's reported interest in Brogdon and Williams isn't surprising. While Brogdon didn't play under Udoka during his lone season in Boston in 2022-23 -- Udoka was suspended in September 2022 for violating team policies, with Joe Mazzulla replacing him as head coach -- the 31-year-old guard worked with several Celtics assistants who followed Udoka to the Rockets, including Ben Sullivan and Mike Moser.

While Brogdon's shooting percentage has dipped from last season to this season, his scoring and assist averages (15.7 and 5.3 per game, respectively) have increased, and he'd fit nicely as a veteran addition to a roster that's very young and inexperienced outside Fred VanVleet and Jeff Green.

Williams, meanwhile, had his best season as a pro under Udoka in 2021-22, nearly averaging a double-double (10.0 points and 9.6 rebounds) while blocking 2.2 shots per game on a Celtics team that reached the NBA Finals. Williams is out for the season due to a knee injury, but the Rockets have plenty of cap space (sixth-most in the NBA) and could afford taking a gamble on Time Lord if they believe Udoka can unleash him next season.

It's been a trying season for ex-Celtics players between Williams' injury, Brogdon languishing on the lottery-bound Blazers, Marcus Smart missing significant time in Memphis and Grant Williams having an up-and-down campaign in Dallas. But it sounds like Brogdon and Williams both could be on new teams later this month -- although don't expect them to come back to the Celtics, who are well-positioned with the NBA's best record as of Friday.

List: High water locations in Houston, surrounding counties

LocationLanes AffectedStatusMap IH-45 Northbound At San Jacinto River Frontage Road U-turnClosed beginning Thursday, January 25, 2024 4:45 PM IH-69 Eastex Northbound At San Jacinto River Frontage Road U-turnClosed beginning Wednesday, January 24, 2024 4:30 PM IH-69 Eastex Southbound At San Jacinto River Frontage Road U-turnClosed beginning Wednesday, January 24, 2024 4:30 ...

LocationLanes AffectedStatusMap
IH-45 Northbound At San Jacinto River Frontage Road U-turnClosed beginning Thursday, January 25, 2024 4:45 PM
IH-69 Eastex Northbound At San Jacinto River Frontage Road U-turnClosed beginning Wednesday, January 24, 2024 4:30 PM
IH-69 Eastex Southbound At San Jacinto River Frontage Road U-turnClosed beginning Wednesday, January 24, 2024 4:30 PM
IH-45 Southbound At San Jacinto River Frontage Road U-turnClosed beginning Thursday, January 25, 2024 4:45 PM

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Check the map below. There's also a time-stamped list below the map.

Montgomery County, TX GIS Office, Texas Parks & Wildlife, CONANP, Esri, TomTom, Garmin, SafeGraph, FAO, METI/NASA, USGS, EPA, NPS, USFWS | Esri and its data vendors | NOAA/NWS | NOAA, Esri | NOAA, NWS, Esri | Montgomery County, TX GIS Office, Texas Parks & Wildlife, CONANP, Esri, TomTom, Garmin, SafeGraph, FAO, METI/NASA, USGS, EPA, NPS, USFWS

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Road Closures

County Level

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State Level

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Welcome to the MCTX Live.

This map shows the most up-to-date traffic and weather conditions for Montgomery County, Texas.

Check this map to see if there are any flooded roads, icy roads, traffic incidents, flooded rivers or streams, and severe weather warnings and alerts in your area.

MCTX Live is a product of Montgomery County IT-GIS

and the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (OEM).

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Montgomery County Live

Here's a list of the roads that are impassable due to high water:

Here's a list from the Waller County Sheriff's Office that was posted to Facebook on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.

As of 1 p.m., the San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office reported high water at these locations.

This list of roads with high water was posted to Facebook by the Washington County Office of Emergency Management at 7:22 a.m. Wednesday)

Houston Transtar map

Cleveland Browns' continued rise hinges on Deshaun Watson

ReactionsLike21BEREA, Ohio - Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was among the first to exit the visitors' locker room in Houston. He pushed his hand through his hair as he walked through the Texans' stadium tunnel with his son-in-law, team executive vice president JW Johnson.It had been nearly two years since the Browns had sent Houston three first-round draft picks for quarterback ...

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BEREA, Ohio - Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was among the first to exit the visitors' locker room in Houston. He pushed his hand through his hair as he walked through the Texans' stadium tunnel with his son-in-law, team executive vice president JW Johnson.

It had been nearly two years since the Browns had sent Houston three first-round draft picks for quarterback Deshaun Watson. As part of the blockbuster trade, Haslam then gave Watson a five-year contract extension worth an NFL record $230 million fully guaranteed. The Texans were rebuilding. Cleveland was pushing its chips in to make a run to its first ever Super Bowl. Yet here in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs, Houston and its new franchise quarterback - and surefire NFL Rookie of the Year - C.J. Stroud had torched the Browns on the way to a 45-14 victory, ending Cleveland's season. Watson, meanwhile, was in street clothes still recovering from surgery on his right shoulder.

Since the trade, Watson has played just 11 games for the Browns. He was suspended 11 games in 2022 for violating for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy after more than two dozen women accused him of committing sexual assault and inappropriate conduct during massage sessions. Then in 2023, Watson battled two different right shoulder injuries, the latter requiring season-ending surgery in November.

Due in large part to the Watson contract, the Browns were the NFL's most expensive team in 2023. They could remain there for the foreseeable future, as well. And yet, even after two seasons, it's still unclear what the Browns have in Watson, and whether he still has the ability to propel Cleveland to a deep playoff run in a loaded AFC.

Watson has shown flashes of his former Texans self, when he once led the NFL in passing. Most notably, he completed all 14 of his second-half throws in a stunning comeback victory at the Baltimore Ravens. Unfortunately for him and the Browns, Watson also suffered the season-ending injury in that Nov. 12 win.

Those flashes, however, have been overshadowed by injuries and inconsistency. Watson has posted just a 41.9 QBR since making his Browns debut in 2022. The only passers with worse QBRs during that span include Mac Jones, Aidan O'Connell, Will Levis, Bryce Young and Zach Wilson. O'Connell, Levis and Young were rookies this past season; Jones and Wilson almost assuredly won't be starters next season.

All the more damning, the Browns' offense took off only after 38-year-old Joe Flacco took over at quarterback on Dec. 3. From that point on, Flacco led the NFL in passing yards per game (323.2) and Cleveland ranked fourth in scoring (28.6), while Watson watched on from the sidelines.

"Obviously, we want him on the field more often than he's been," general manager Andrew Berry said this week of Watson, who is on track to practice again sometime in the spring. "I do feel really good about him, happy with the progress that he's made within our organization, both on the field and off the field, and we're looking forward to getting him back next year. We think he's going to have a really big year and have a ton of confidence in him as our starting quarterback. ... We really feel good about him moving forward."

Even with the perpetual questions surrounding Watson, the Browns have plenty else to feel good about moving forward.

They boast a star-studded defense led by All-Pro pass-rusher Myles Garrett and lockdown cornerback Denzel Ward that should be among the best in the league again next season under coordinator Jim Schwartz. Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, safety Grant Delpit and cornerback Martin Emerson Jr. showed this season they could be on their way to being Pro Bowl performers, as well.

Above all, though, after cycling through so many over the years, the Browns learned they have their long-term head coach, too.

Going into the season, Kevin Stefanski appeared to be on the hot seat after back-to-back losing records. His job security seemed to be tied to getting Watson to play at a high level. Instead, Stefanski got the Browns to continue playing at a high level even after a rash of season-ending injuries to a multitude of key players, including Watson, Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb (knee), offensive tackles Jedrick Wills Jr. (knee), Jack Conklin (knee), Dawand Jones (knee) and Delpit (groin).

Cleveland finished with 11 regular season wins, tied for the most by the franchise since 1986. Multiple players told ESPN that the "next-man-up" culture the even-keeled Stefanski has instilled over his four seasons as coach helped the Browns weather and overcome so much adversity this season.

"We've learned what it takes to be resilient," said Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio. "We talk about [being a] smart, tough, accountable, resilient team. He probably says that every day and that's something we focus on."

After leading the Browns to the playoffs, Stefanski could be in line to win his second NFL Coach of the Year in four seasons.

"The way that he was able to lead and manage through challenges in adversity this year was absolutely phenomenal," Berry said. "We have a smart, adaptable, emotionally intelligent leader who - the crazy part is - is not even close to his ceiling. ... I know that our organization is in really good hands with him."

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The Browns still have work to do. They're sure to be in the market this offseason for another playmaker to help bolster the offense and Watson. Berry will also have to get creative again restructuring contracts to keep the core of the team in place. The AFC won't be any easier next year, either, with Stroud ascending to join a quarterback contingent that features former MVPs Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, as well as Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence. Save Allen, the Browns will have to face all of those quarterbacks in the 2024 regular season, plus the Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts and the Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott.

Yet to truly contend, the Browns need Watson to perform like an elite quarterback again, too, and not just for a half here or there.

Berry said that he'd "absolutely love" to bring Flacco back next season to back up Watson, and Flacco has indicated an interest in returning, as well. But Berry also compared the situation to Jacoby Brissett, who left Cleveland for the Washington Commanders last offseason after starting those 11 games Watson was suspended in 2022.

Whatever happens with Flacco, Cleveland's future outlook ultimately hinges on Watson, who hasn't talked to the media since before undergoing the shoulder surgery.

The Browns were a fun story with Flacco. Thanks to Stefanski, they proved to be one of the league's most resilient teams, too. With Bitonio and Garrett, among several other veterans, the leadership is in place. Berry and his front office have upgraded the overall talent on the roster, as well. But the Browns can't get to the Super Bowl unless Watson takes them there. Two years ago, the Haslams staked it all on that bet. A franchise-defining gamble that has yet to pay off.

2 players the Astros should trade, 3 they should keep around

Houston could stand to shake up their roster a bit to plan for their future.1 of 3The Houston Astros are going to be a good baseball team in 2024. They may not win the division and the playoffs could even be a bit dicey given how strong the American League looks, but no one should think that the Astros, as they stand now, will throw up a stinker of a 2024 season. If they do ...

Houston could stand to shake up their roster a bit to plan for their future.

1 of 3

The Houston Astros are going to be a good baseball team in 2024. They may not win the division and the playoffs could even be a bit dicey given how strong the American League looks, but no one should think that the Astros, as they stand now, will throw up a stinker of a 2024 season. If they do nothing else at all this offseason, them being good is still almost a lock.

However, there are always ways to improve. Some changes could be geared towards fixing the "right now" issues on the roster while others could be geared towards planning for the short and long-term future of the club. We often measure success on a year-by-year basis, but there is something to be said for building an organization that can sustain success even if it costs some short term gains.

With that in mind, here is a look at some of the players that the Astros should consider trading in the not-so-distant future. The goal is to be somewhat realistic here. No, you won't find Yordan Alvarez as a "keep"; that isn't instructive, because duh. Also, no, you won't find any guys that just signed minor-league deals with spring training invites as "trades" because no one cares about that. Instead, the focus will be on known commodities and the decisions that the Astros should make for, hopefully, the overall health of the club going forward.

Players that the Astros should consider trading

Since the offseason started, Jake Meyers has been the subject of trade rumors, and with good reason. Kyle Tucker is a mortal lock for right field and Chas McCormick sure seems like he earned his spot in the outfield after posting an .842 OPS and nearly getting a 20/20 season last year. However, Meyers' profile is one that feels a bit more niche and may not fit in the Astros' plans.

Meyers is a terrific defender and no one should argue otherwise. That, in itself, has a lot of value. However, terrific defenders that hit .227 with limited offensive upside generally don't find themselves on the rosters of playoff teams. The teams that can best extract that value are ones that are payroll starved or are rebuilding on a budget, not teams like the Astros who are loaded everywhere and are heavily invested financially in competing in 2024.

Right now, the Astros are talking a tough game and publicly committing to playing Meyers in center this season. That is all well and good, but Houston has a lot of outfield prospects coming up right now AND they have also talked about adding a lefty outfield bat with speed. That doesn't feel like much of a vote of confidence, and if the Astros end up getting a decent offer for Meyers, they should jump at the chance to move him and bring in some talent for elsewhere on the roster.

HISD's school ratings dropped, but some question use of blocked TEA methodology

Houston ISD's release of unofficial campus accountability ratings earlier this week showed school grades plummet across this district, but some say their use of methodology currently...

Houston ISD's release of unofficial campus accountability ratings earlier this week showed school grades plummet across this district, but some say their use of methodology currently blocked by a state judge unfairly overstates the declines at many campuses.

HISD utilized data and methodology provided by the Texas Education Agency to calculate campus grades, which TEA-appointed Superintendent Mike Miles then used to determine which schools will be added to his New Education System next school year. The number of HISD schools with a D or F rating jumped from 10 campuses in 2022 to 123 campuses in 2023, accounting for nearly half of the district. The number of A and B-rated schools, meanwhile, fell from 213 campuses in 2022 to 93 campuses in 2023.

The TEA, however, is still blocked from releasing those ratings themselves, after a state district judge in October granted a temporary injunction in a lawsuit filed by over 100 Texas school districts, which argued that the agency's updated evaluation methodology would unduly harm school ratings. The TEA has argued that the accountability system needs to be periodically updated to set high expectations for student performance, but acknowledged that ratings could drop if even if all else remains equal.

NES EXPANSION: HISD expands strict reforms as some parents express frustration: 'We didn't choose this'

Education experts say that several factors, including the new evaluation methods, could explain the decline. STAAR scores released in August show that HISD students generally maintained or showed slight dips in their performance.

"A district or a campus could drop in the accountability ratings but be performing at the same level they were the prior year, so it seems like they're doing worse but they might not be doing worse, because the measure changed," said Erin Baumgartner, director of the Houston Education Research Consortium at Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

While the TEA awaits a final decision on whether or not they can release official ratings, HISD's self-calculated scores are already having ramifications across the district. Twenty F-rated schools that weren’t already NES or NES-aligned campuses will be folded into the system next year, along with six low D-rated schools. Another 24 high D-rated schools, 14 of which will ultimately be accepted, have been given a choice to opt into the program.

PERFORMANCE DROPS: HISD, other Houston-area schools see widespread performance drops in new Children at Risk rankings

"Whether there's a rating or not, when we know that kids are not achieving at the proficiency level that they are, then the best thing to do is provide high-quality instruction, provide greater supports, provide on-the-job feedback, provide high quality instructional materials, provide other things for kids to do and expand their experiences, which is all part of NES," Miles said.

The TEA's evaluation methodology was set to change this year in a number of ways. In one of the most notable changes, the cut score for a high school to receive an A on its College, Career and Military Readiness domain — which accounts for a significant portion of a high school's rating —was raised from a 60% to an 88%, significantly raising the bar for high schools to receive a top grade.

Other changes affected schools across the board. Seventy percent of a school's rating comes from either its raw STAAR scores or how much growth students demonstrated over the previous year, whichever number was higher. The way the TEA determined growth, however, also shifted under the new methodology, establishing new cut scores that a student had to meet to demonstrate improvement.

APPS OPEN: Houston ISD's school choice application has launched. Here's what you need to know.

Schools were also hard-pressed to match growth scores from 2022, the first test taken after children had fully returned to the classroom following the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There's always more room for growth when you start with lower scores," Baumgartner said. "By nature of that... I anticipated there would be huge decreases in district accountability scores this year, regardless of the metrics changing. Even if we used the same methodology as the previous year, there were going to be huge decreases."

On top of the changes to the methodology, the TEA debuted a new STAAR exam last year, transitioning to an online-only format with fewer multiple choice questions.

That confluence of forces "created a perfect storm to make schools look bad," said Ruth Kravetz, co-founder of the education advocacy group Community Voices for Public Education.

'TEACHERS STEPPED UP': HISD elementary, middle school students at NES campuses see more growth on reading, math NWEA exams

"This is a calculated attempt to use test data to make the public lose faith and confidence in public education, by pretending that COVID never happened and changing the test to make it even harder for schools showing improvement to have that reflected on this metric," Kravetz said.

Others celebrated the release of accountability scores, arguing that the data provides HISD families "with a baseline to better understand how our schools started the school year, the impact of the administration's current strategies on student learning, and where additional attention and support may be needed."

"If HISD leaders continue to make student achievement data accessible to all, these ratings will ensure that educators, families, and community members are no longer left in the dark about how their local schools are performing," said the Citywide Coalition on Education, an alliance of local education organizations, in a statement.

The TEA did not respond to a request for comment. Miles acknowledged that "the bar has raised a little bit" but maintained that student achievement was declining.

"We don't need the STAAR ratings to tell us that," Miles said. "It's not a secret that our achievement has been declining and we have not recovered from COVID, so the fact that we have to do more and provide more supports makes a whole bunch of sense."

CJ Stroud helps surprise Purple Heart recipient and son with tickets to Super Bowl LVIII

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In his brief yet brilliant time as the Houston Texans quarterback, ABC13 learned how much family has influenced the journey of C.J. Stroud. He says some of that impact comes from family members who have served in the military.This week, Stroud delivered a once-in-a-lifetime surprise to a deserving military veteran.Through his partnership with the United Services Automobile Association and the Air and Space Forces Association, Stroud announced via social media that he is sending Sgt. Craig Mazeska and hi...

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In his brief yet brilliant time as the Houston Texans quarterback, ABC13 learned how much family has influenced the journey of C.J. Stroud. He says some of that impact comes from family members who have served in the military.

This week, Stroud delivered a once-in-a-lifetime surprise to a deserving military veteran.

Through his partnership with the United Services Automobile Association and the Air and Space Forces Association, Stroud announced via social media that he is sending Sgt. Craig Mazeska and his son to next month's Super Bowl LVIII as the recipients of a Salute to Service ticket giveaway. Stroud, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, has also pledged to spend time with Craig while in Vegas, attending Super Bowl week festivities.

"Beyond football, my family is one of the most influential parts of my life," Stroud said in a statement provided to ABC13. "I especially appreciate the lessons learned from my loved ones who have served in the military. Like some in my family, Marine Corps veteran Sgt. Craig Mazeska selflessly served our country, so I'm honored to join USAA and the Air & Space Forces Association (AFA) to send Sgt. Mazeska and his son to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, where I look forward to meeting them."

Now retired, Sgt. Mazeska had overseas deployments to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq as a combat engineer in the United States Marine Corps. In addition to being awarded a Purple Heart, Craig also received a Combat Action Ribbon and a Kuwait Liberation Medal.

During a visit with ABC13 via Zoom, Sgt. Mazeska admitted that his service to our country took a toll on his health. He also encourages fellow veterans to reach out for help and stop suffering silently while falling into what he calls an "unfortunate trap" of self-medicating.

"My first thought goes back to all the many others - those that that didn't come home," Sgt. Mazeska said while discussing being the recipient of a Super Bowl trip. "I, unfortunately, do spend quite a bit of time laying down. I can't get out of bed for periods of time. But there are those that are much worse off than I am, and those that have already moved on as a result of similar exposures and things from serving overseas. My son and my family have seen me struggle and be in a lot of pain through periods of time over the years. I feel as if this is a way to get some cool points and reward them to a certain degree."

But this reward could go to the next level.

In fact, Sgt. Mazeska is a huge Baltimore Ravens fan. Craig and his son are already going to the Super Bowl. With a win on Sunday, their favorite team could be there, too.

And the Ravens are in the AFC title game only because they beat C.J. Stroud and the Texans.

"It's surreal that we just played the Texans, and then days later, I get this opportunity," Mazeska shared. "And that the Ravens are still in the running in a big way. I feel like it's a dream, and I'm waiting for someone to wake me up."

If the Ravens defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday's AFC Championship, they'll advance to Super Bowl LVIII.

Tellurian hired Lazard as Houston LNG company reportedly explores sale

Shares of Tellurian jumped this week after Bloomberg reported Thursday that the li...

Shares of Tellurian jumped this week after Bloomberg reported Thursday that the liquefied natural gas company was considering a sale of the company.

A spokeswoman for Houston-based Tellurian confirmed Thursday in an email that it had hired the financial firm Lazard Inc. to “help us look at commercial opportunities as we seek equity partners for Driftwood LNG” project in Louisiana. A sale of the company is also on the table, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources.

Tellurian shares jumped more than 15%, reaching 60 cents per share after the market closed Thursday. It opened Friday lower, and ended the trading week at 55 cents a share, about 6% above the prior day’s close.

TELLURIAN BUZZ: New Tellurian investments follow termination of former Chairman Souki

The developments closely follow former chairman and co-founder Charif Souki’s termination, which was finalized last month. The company has struggled over the past year to woo customers and equity partners for its marquee Driftwood LNG project and, in November, it warned investors about conditions that “raise substantial doubt” about the company’s cash flow in the months ahead.

Tellurian co-founder Martin Houston, who replaced Souki as chairman, said last month in a letter to shareholders that it had “appointed a financial advisor to assist with shaping commercial structures as well as balance sheet management.”

“They will provide valuable assistance and guidance in the coming weeks,” Houston said in the letter.

Goodnight’s dynamic chef duo dish on their posh new restaurant, plus our trip to 1891 American Eatery & Bar

On this week’s episode of “What’s Eric Eating,” chefs Felipe Riccio and Austin Waiter join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss the latest news from Goodnight Hospitality. Riccio, a partner in the overall group, and Waiter, chef-partner for The Marigold Club, have a lot of news to share....

On this week’s episode of “What’s Eric Eating,” chefs Felipe Riccio and Austin Waiter join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss the latest news from Goodnight Hospitality. Riccio, a partner in the overall group, and Waiter, chef-partner for The Marigold Club, have a lot of news to share.

Episode 346 - Felipe Riccio and Austin Waiter of Goodnight Hospitality

Episode 346 - Felipe Riccio and Austin Waiter of Goodnight Hospitality

Episode 346 - Felipe Riccio and Austin Waiter of Goodnight Hospitality

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40:36

The conversation begins with Waiter discussing The Marigold Club, a Continental restaurant that will open later this spring in the former Goodnight Charlie’s space. He shares a few of the reasons why he left Tony’s two years ago to join the project and discusses his time staging at restaurants in London as part of the preparations to open it. Waiter shares a few details about the menu, including that it will feature an extensive raw seafood program and offer afternoon tea service.

Sandler asks Riccio how Marigold Club fits in with its sister concepts March and Rosie Cannonball in the Goodnight portfolio.

“Rosie leans so heavily Italian. We play around with French flavors here and there. With Marigold, getting to lean in to that classic technique, through the eyes of London . . . into the rest of Europe, playing off those classic flavors from French cooking will be a lot of fun.”

Waiter adds that one of the lessons he’s brought from Tony’s is the importance of finding a balance between his perspective as a chef and serving food that customers want to order.

“I think that the difficult part is staying true to what Felipe and I and the business partners love about food and what we’re focusing on and still making sure the guest comes first,” he says. “I’m not the one sitting there eating dinner every night. I think our guests need to take priority.”

From there, the discussion turns to March. The Mediterranean-inspired fine dining restaurant will roll out its new tasting menus devoted to Països Catalans — a region where people speak Catalan that includes parts of Spain, Italy, France, and islands such as Ibiza and Mallorca — on January 30.

“What is the through line, what are the differences between these people that share a common language? What’s their food style? What are the ingredients that are important? What are their rituals? All of those things are part of the research,” Riccio explains.

The menu will include freshwater seafood and ingredients sourced from the Pyrenees Mountains. Beverage options will feature an homage to sangria as well as wines sourced from the Penedès, a region south of Barcelona.

In this week’s other episode, Sandler and co-host Michael Fulmer discuss the news of the week. Their topics include Common Bond bringing a new bistro location to Tanglewood, Layne’s Chicken Fingers opening inside the loop, and Hando opening in Spring Branch.

Episode 345 - 1891 American Eatery & Bar

Episode 345 - 1891 American Eatery & Bar

What's Eric Eating• SUBSCRIBE

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25:32

In the restaurant of the week segment, they visit 1891 American Eatery & Bar. Created by the culinary team behind Common Bond, the restaurant combines a comfort food menu with quality cocktails and a casual, sports bar atmosphere.

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Subscribe to "What's Eric Eating" on Apple podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify. Listen to it Sunday at 8 am on ESPN 97.5.

Yankees Potential Free Agent Target: Phil Maton

With February right around the corner, the Yankees find themselves with less than three weeks to bolster the pitching staff before pitchers and catchers report. Recent rumors suggest that the front office is satisfied with the additions made on the starting pitching side, with focus shifting to the last few reinforcements for the bullpen. New York has been linked to reunions with Wandy Peralta and Keynan Middleton in that regard, however recent reports suggest they...

With February right around the corner, the Yankees find themselves with less than three weeks to bolster the pitching staff before pitchers and catchers report. Recent rumors suggest that the front office is satisfied with the additions made on the starting pitching side, with focus shifting to the last few reinforcements for the bullpen. New York has been linked to reunions with Wandy Peralta and Keynan Middleton in that regard, however recent reports suggest they are currently looking at former Astros reliever Phil Maton.

Yankees Interested In Ryan Brasier, Phil Maton https://t.co/NwlF11rir5 pic.twitter.com/k8c5QEHlev

— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) January 26, 2024

2023 Statistics: 68 games, 66 IP, 3.00 ERA (141 ERA+), 3.74 FIP, 4.24 xFIP, 27.0 percent K%, 9.1 percent BB%, 0.6 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Depth Charts Projections: 67 games, 67 IP, 4.10 ERA, 4.20 FIP, 24.7 percent K%, 8.7 percent BB%, 0.3 fWAR

Previous Contract: Agreed to one-year, $2.55 million contract in third and final year of arbitration eligibility.

Though his name is not one that generates the same national recognition as some of the fireballers coming out of bullpens around the league, Maton has been one of the most consistently available relievers of the last three years. Since the start of 2021, his 197 innings ranks eighth and 199 appearances 10th among qualified relievers. He posted a career-best in ERA in 2023 aided by a scorching hot first-half (2.44 ERA) and stark home (4.05 ERA) vs. away (1.93 ERA) splits.

Maton is something of a unicorn pitcher. He doesn’t throw hard at all, his four-seam average velocity of 89 mph — down two mph from previous seasons — placing him in the third percentile league-wide. However, his 96th percentile extension means the ball gets on the hitter faster than your average 89 mph fastball, leading to a whiffs on roughly a third of swings against the pitch.

The fastball is also a unicorn in that it is the straightest four-seamer in the league, with ten inches less horizontal movement versus average. Recent research suggests that for effective pitch tunneling, too much separation in horizontal movement can be a negative. Take a sinker and sweeper that break in opposite directions. In order for both pitches to tunnel, they have to be thrown with the same initial aiming point. This means that for a sinker and sweeper to tunnel, both have to be thrown off the plate, the sinker tailing back toward the outside corner (vs a righty) while the sweeper dives further away from the plate.

Maton has always had elite horizontal movement on his breaking pitches — his sweeper and curveball routinely place in the top-20 league-wide in horizontal moment versus average. Therefore, in order to create more effective tunneling with the fastball, he had to straighten the four-seamer out. Now, instead of aiming his pitches off the plate, he can start the four-seamer aimed directly at the outside edge and avoid it fading over the heart of the zone.

This in turn allows him to start both sweeper and curveball in the zone before both dive toward the lefty hitter’s batting box. Both pitches travel a course toward the strike zone for longer, giving the hitter less time to recognize location and pitch type before deciding on a swing or take. It’s how the slow four-seamer plays up — the longer a hitter has to track a pitch on the outside edge to determine fastball versus breaking ball, the less time they have to react if it’s the heater. It’s how you get swings like this against what ought to be an eminently hittable fastball:

These pitch characteristics allowed Maton to limit hitters to the lowest hard-hit rate (23.5 percent) of any qualified pitcher in 2023. In fact, he’s been a soft contact merchant his entire career, placing in the 95th percentile or better in exit velocity and hard-hit rate in 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2023. The curveball in particular has emerged as quite the weapon, becoming his most-used pitch in 2023. He can vary its velocity by as much as 10 mph while maintaining its 98th percentile spin rate of well over 3,000 rpm — both of which combined to produce a paltry .169 average and 79.6 mph average exit velocity against.

All of this is to say that Maton aligns with the Yankees’ relief pitching philosophy from two different angles. Matt Blake loves his unicorn relievers, whether that’s Clay Holmes’ demon sinker, Ron Marinaccio’s airbender-lite changeup, or Ian Hamilton’s slambio, and Maton certainly fits the mold. In addition, Maton’s ability to induce weak contact aligns perfectly with the arms already in the Yankees’ pen, which produced the lowest barrel rate and second-lowest exit velocity and hard-hit rate of any relief unit in 2023.

That’s not to suggest that the 30-year-old righty doesn’t come with some flaws — he probably gives up a few too many fly balls and walks a few too many hitters to be entirely comfortable penciling him in as a high-leverage reliever in Yankee Stadium. However, in terms of replacing the production of the since-departed arms and in general raising the floor of already one of the best bullpens in the sport for an affordable price, there are few better options than the ex-Astro.

‘Dehumanizing’: Houston ISD students hold off-campus panel, speak out against NES model

HOUSTON – Students from several Houston ISD schools affected by the district’s New Education System spoke up about it, off their campuses.Instead of addressing the school board, they held a panel discussion at the Third Ward Multi-Service Center where they could speak freely, without time limits.The students brought their voices there because they said they don’t feel heard at HISD board meetings. Tonight they sounded off about what they say is a school system they say feels more like prison....

HOUSTON – Students from several Houston ISD schools affected by the district’s New Education System spoke up about it, off their campuses.

Instead of addressing the school board, they held a panel discussion at the Third Ward Multi-Service Center where they could speak freely, without time limits.

The students brought their voices there because they said they don’t feel heard at HISD board meetings. Tonight they sounded off about what they say is a school system they say feels more like prison.

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Houston ISD Takeover

“The rules that are set for students are ridiculous,” the moderator said.

HISD’s new education system or NES touts free trips for students to experience new places and cultures, and extra resources and support to dramatically improve academic performance. Superintendent Mike Miles says it’s supposed to help students at struggling schools thrive, but students say it’s doing just the opposite.

“When you’re walking the hallways administrators are yelling at you ‘Go to class, go to class, headphones out put your phones away,’” said Worthing HS student, Drapon Allen.

Allen says he feels like he’s behind bars while at school.

Email Address

“There’s blue tape in the middle of the hallway and you’re being forced to walk on the right side of the hallway. Administrators will shove you,” he added.

If students need to relieve themselves, Allen says they have to carry a large traffic cone to the restroom.

“It can be red, or blue, depending on what side of the campus you’re on,” he said.

Maria Mendez says things got so bad, she considered suicide and had to transfer out of worthing.

RELATED: Up to 40 new schools will be added to HISD’s NES model. What do you think about the district’s decision?

“School was my safe space,” Mendez said. “I know I’m strong mentally but at that school I could not take the environment anymore I was feeling so low that honestly I’m missing three to four days a week.”

Mendez and Allen aren’t alone. A panel of students from multiple high school -- some not NES-modeled--, spoke against the system.

“And I would agree and use the word dehumanizing to describe these policies,” said Hira Malik who attends Carnegie Vanguard.

The discussion comes on the heels of up to 40 more HISD schools considered to be lagging in performance set to transfer to the controversial NES system in the 2024-2025 school year.

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