KOLD Channel 13 chief meteorologist Chuck George, who abruptly left the air on a 10 p.m. newscast Sept. 6 and took a leave of absence Sept. 9, is now expected back in about six weeks, KOLD Vice President and General Manager Debbie Bush said.
George has also resigned from his position as an adjunct teacher at Pima Community College, said Paul Schwalbach, a spokesman for the college.
Schwalbach said KOLD producers called the college Sept. 7 to tell them George would no longer teach GEO 101, which covers physical geography, weather and climate. Pima has made arrangements to find a substitute and continue the class.
Earlier this year, George set up the Archimedes Scholarship at Pima, available to incoming students with a 3.5 grade-point average or current students with a 3.25 GPA.
He planned to donate his $2,500 Pima teaching salary from this semester to the fund. Schwalbach said George's departure puts the scholarship in jeopardy, because if George doesn't donate the money "there probably won't be any scholarship unless other people come through," Schwalbach said.
George's leave is most likely due to medical reasons because news director Michelle Germano told the Star via email Sept. 7 that George was "under the weather" and "hopefully getting some rest." She also wrote "Chuck is good."
Last week Germano said she expected George to return to work Sept. 8 before Bush confirmed Sept. 9 that he had taken leave.
At the time, Bush said there was no expected date for George's return, but news anchors on Tuesday's 10 p.m. newscast said on-air that they expect George back in six weeks. Earlier that day, KOLD posted an item on the site that said the same thing.
KOLD's post read:
"We want to give you an update tonight on our friend and co-worker Chief Meteorologist Chuck George.
"Chuck is taking a leave of absence from KOLD News 13. We hope that Chuck will be back with us in the next six weeks or so. We, as well as Chuck, appreciate all of the calls and emails and words of support."
George took a five-week hiatus in March and April 2010, the Tucson Weekly reported online. Bush declined to confirm the dates.
Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or firstname.lastname@example.org