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One life to Lutz for their country

The people of Lutz, always a contrary lot, are taking their independent streak to a new level next month. For one day at least, they're going to secede from Hillsborough County and the state of Florida. For people familiar with the recent history of Lutz, an unincorporated community just north of

Tampa, secession may not seem like such a drastic step. Lutz residents have a habit of banding together whenever the county or the state tries to direct an unwanted road or power line their way. As Tampa Bay has sprouted up all around them, they often seem to be fighting a lonely _ but surprisingly successful _ battle against urban sprawl.

According to their official pronouncement, the people of Lutz are seceding because they are "fed up with the local politics of unwanted roads, shopping malls and power lines, the theft of water by alien governments and other insults to peaceful country life."

At least they plan to remain a part of the United States. On the Fourth of July, they'll just declare themselves the 51st state of the union and appoint their own "guv'na," who will be the resident who collects the most money during a fund-raising drive that ends that day.

Whether you agree with them or not, you have to give the Lutzians _ or Lutzites, or whatever they are _ credit for living up to the original spirit of American independence. While most of the communities around them have begun to blend into one amorphous megalopolis, Lutz stubbornly clings to its bucolic identity.

Those of us who live in the overdeveloped sections of Tampa Bay may be tempted to go to Lutz on the Fourth of July to share in the spirit of old-fashioned independence. And we'll probably be welcome _ as long as we promise to get out of town before the day is over.

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