I resolved the problem by doing the factory reset. Not such a big deal but lost some data in the process that I could not back up because of the internal storage not being mounted. In my case the data I lost was not such a big deal as most of my important stuff was on the ext sd card or in a cloud somewhere.
After the reset, the note is obviously like new and running very smoothly. Makes me think I should do a reset every so often to clear out apps that accumulate and just to give the phone a fresh start.