9/11 first responder laid to rest, holiday travel, World Cup action: 5 things to know Wednesday

Editors USA TODAY

Published 3:47 AM EDT Jul 3, 2019

Leaving town for Fourth of July weekend? Better get going

With Independence Day falling on Thursday, Wednesday afternoon is projected to be the absolute worst time to hit the road. Thanks to a mix of holiday travelers and commuters leaving work, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. today will be the heaviest traffic for the July 3-7 period, says transportation analyst Trevor Reed of INRIX, which partnered with AAA auto club to deliver data on summer travel.

AAA expects an additional 1.9 million Americans to travel for the holiday over last year, hitting a record high since 2000.

9/11 first responder to be laid to rest

Luis Alvarez, a 9/11 first responder who recently died of colorectal cancer, will be laid to rest on Wednesday in New York. Alvarez was a New York Police Department detective who saved victims from the rubble in the aftermath of the Sept.

11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2016 and died on Saturday at the age of 53.

In June, Alvarez testified in front of Congress along with Jon Stewart to lobby for health insurance for 9/11 first responders.

Sweden, the Netherlands battle to face the U.S. in the World Cup final

Sweden and the Netherlands will face off on Wednesday (Fox, 3 p.m. ET) for a spot in the Women's World Cup final and the chance to unseat the defending champion, the United States. Despite key player Megan Rapinoe missing the match due to injury, the USWNT squeaked out a 2-1 win over England Tuesday.

Who should American fans root for? It could be the Swedes, as the USWNT has already triumphed over them this tournament, thanks to a 2-0 group stage win on June 20. Columnist Nancy Armour, however, would rather the Americans take on the Netherlands in the final, saying "a U.S.-Sweden matchup would be the World Cup version of Groundhog Day."

Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken returns to competition for first time since being paralyzed

It's been almost 20 years since Amy Van Dyken-Rouen swam in her second Olympics, winning the her sixth gold medal.

And five years since a spinal cord injury left her paralyzed from the waist down. On Wednesday, Van Dyken-Rouen will begin competing in the WheelWOD Games, an adaptive CrossFit competition that requires making a cut to the top 12 in the world to earn an invitation. Since qualifying, she's trained 2-3 hours most days to prepare for 12 workouts, Wednesday-Saturday in Collingwood, Ontario.

The first workout includes swimming, paddle board and push-ups. After that, what's coming is a surprise. "It's going to be awesome just to get out there and get the competitive juices flowing," Van Dyken-Rouen said. "It's cool adaptive sports are being recognized and hopefully I will have a little part in that."

'The Walking Dead' comic book pulls its biggest surprise: It's ending

One of the comic-book industry's longest-running hits is ending as "The Walking Dead" shockingly finishes its story with this week's issue. Many thought the comic, which follows Rick Grimes and a band of survivors in a post-apocalyptic zombie world, might go on forever.

However, Issue No.

193, titled "The Farmhouse," brings the saga to a close and creator Robert Kirkman explained why he went this direction in a lengthy letter in the issue.

It goes on sale Wednesday.

The end of the comic book won't affect AMC's TV franchise, which includes "The Walking Dead" and "Fear the Walking Dead." The TV adaptation of the comic book has often gone in different story directions, most notably with Grimes, who (SPOILER ALERT) met a harsh fate in the comics, but will still be played by Andrew Lincoln in a series of upcoming movies.

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