D.C. news in brief

District property tax assessments are in the mail

The D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue has begun mailing 2014 real property assessment notices to owners in the District.

The office suggests that property owners review their assessment upon receipt. The notices also include information on such property tax relief programs such as the homestead benefit, senior citizen deduction and the owner-occupied residential tax credit, and contacts for the assigned appraiser.

Property owners who think their assessment is not equitable with similar properties or does not reflect the market value must file an appeal with the Real Property Tax Administration on or before April 1. Appeal applications may be filed at otr.cfo.dc.gov.

Human Rights office issues language access report

The D.C. Office of Human Rights recently released a report on compliance with the 2004 D.C. Language Access Act, which mandates access to city services for people who speak limited or no English.

The report, which provides compliance score cards for 32 agencies with major public contact, calls particular attention to three areas in which improvements are most needed: tracking customers who have limited English proficiency, translation of vital documents for customers and accessibility of agency Web sites. The report also has results from field tests of 23 agencies and reviews the seven language access complaints filed with the human rights office in fiscal 2012.

To read the report, go to ohr.dc.gov/languageaccess.

D.C. students engage in mock trials at Superior Court

Georgetown University Law School is holding its annual Street Law Mock Trial Tournament from 6 to 8 p.m. March 21, March 28 and April 10 at D.C. Superior Court, 500 Indiana Ave. NW. The tournament pits D.C. high school students against each other as lawyers and witnesses in a complex hypothetical trial.

There will be 250 students from 13 D.C. public and public charter high schools who will participate in 14 simultaneous trials each night. The preliminary rounds are Thursday and March 28, followed by the championship between the highest-scoring plaintiff and defense teams on April 10.

This year’s trial is called Hester v. Metro City Public Schools. It involves a school resource officer, a First Amendment debate over a tattoo and a Fourth Amendment argument about a locker search.

For information, contact D.C. Street Law Clinic at 202-662-9615.

Historic preservation draft plan is released

The D.C. Historic Preservation Office recently released a draft of the District’s historic preservation plan, “Enriching our Heritage 2016.” The draft identifies preservation goals in the next four years based on input from residents in all eight wards and a steering committee of preservationists, urban planners, and community and business leaders.

To view the draft plan, go to www.preservation.dc.gov. For a paper copy, e-mail historic.preservation@dc.gov, call 202-442-8835, or write to Office of Planning/Historic Preservation Office, 2016 Plan, 1100 4th St. SW, Suite E650, Washington, D.C. 20024.

A public meeting on the plan is scheduled for 9 a.m. April 25 at the Historic Preservation Review Board, 441 Fourth St. NW, Room 220 South. The deadline for public comment is April 30.

UDC board appoints interim president

The University of the District of Columbia Board of Trustees has appointed James Earl Lyons Sr. as the school’s interim president.

Lyons has a doctorate in professional higher education administration from the University of Connecticut.

From March 2007 until December 2010, Lyons was secretary of the Maryland Higher Education Commission. He previously held the positions of president at Bowie State University, Jackson State University in Mississippi and California State University, Dominguez Hills.

— Compiled by Terence McArdle

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